More weeks, more work

I learned that today is World Contraception Day. I didn’t even know such a day existed. I am getting a lot of emails about that but here in Lesotho I didn’t notice much of a celebration. There was a celebration at the hotel, a lecture by a South African poet and English language prof who spent much time in Lesotho at a time that Lesotho was surrounding by the old Apartheid South Africa.

The king, the queen, lords of the courts, ambassadors and many other notables attended the lecture. It was warm in the room and the lecture was long. It consisted of 7 parts – connected one way or another with the theme of borders, boundaries, being surrounded or isolated. I didn’t always get the connections. It felt like a big African meal was offered to me and my digestion would take a while. I slipped out during the question period and headed for the Chinese restaurant for my daily supply of dumplings and soup. I dropped the wine. Drinking wine by oneself feels a little naughty.

Scheduling the various parts of my assignments between Pretoria and Maseru remains a bit of a challenge. I will do one round trip in between my first arrival and final departure, a week here, a week there, and then more weeks here. The trip will be longer than planned, inching up to six weeks after all – dates changes that couldn’t be helped.

In the meantime I learned that a large proposal with a subcontractor role for MSH has been awarded. This means I have a new 50% job in addition to the 100% I already have. One year ago I was desperate for work and now it is pouring in from all sides.

With my long evenings alone in my hotel room, and a good internet connection, I decided to sign on to another Coursera course, on organizational analysis, taught by a Stanford Business School prof. Once again I find myself in the company of some 90.000 other students from all corners of the world, a small segment of that engaging busily in discussions. It is quite remarkable.  I am still on track with my other course, with a lecturer who I am growing quite fond of as he is quite enthusiastic. I passed the third quiz on my very first try – answering questions about percolation and tipping points and epidemiological equations. I am quite proud of myself – the neural connections are being repaired!

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September 2012
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