Calls and cuts

Our two days and a half of hard work, calling something into being that doesn’t exist yet, came to an end at lunch time yesterday. We accomplished what we set out to do, and more, the latter to the surprise of a few doubting Thomases, who admitted their delight in our closing reflection.

We went from divergent to convergent thinking, from the weeds to the clouds and back, and ended up with a good foundation of the house we are building as the faint outlines of the vision began to emerge: a space and a place where people involved in health education can connect, learn, scheme, assess, experiment, etc. At times there was some hesitation – could we pull this off, ever? – but when we closed everyone has recognized that, with enough hands on deck and good steering, we could do it. We were swirling in images, weeds, clouds, foundations, steep staircases, decks, breezy rooftop hang outs, winding dark alleys, dead ends, open spaces, etc.

Some of the imagery came from our last dinner together on the roof of an old house, located in the middle of narrow winding alleyways that could barely accommodate the tuk-tuk that took me there. It appeared to have been made for giants – steep stairs with threads double the size of what I’d call normal – and furniture larger than life. At the rooftop restaurant however, the place was for little people: tiny tables, pillows, a mufraj of sorts, with large swaths of textiles flapping in the wind over our heads, and the muezzin calling from everywhere around the island, not quite in synchrony.

Facilitating for three whole days and the intense humidity had not been kind to my ankle. An unexpected long walk to Freddy Mercury’s restaurant on Wednesday evening reminded me that the surgery had only been 2 weeks ago. I started icing my ankle again and keep my foot elevated – seated facilitation became possible because of many helping hands from a solicitous team.

The cutting of the internet cable in Egypt didn’t just affect the Middle/Near East and India, as reported, but also a good chunk of the east side of Africa. Checking in for our puddle jumper to cross back to the mainland was rather chaotic with the internet down.’ This was not a local event, as we had assumed, but something much bigger – an Achilles heel exposed.

We received hand written boarding passes after showing a print out with a ticket number. The part of the system that did not require an internet connection (dedicated workers) trumped all and showed that there are still memories here of LBI (life before the internet). We took off and landed exactly at the appointed hour. Quite amazing!

I had myself dropped off at the Hyatt where a colleague was just finishing her trip, heading out to Amsterdam. We were able to squeeze in a beer and some bar food before checking into my hotel in another part, a pricey deal for a very short night: convocation at the airport at 3:00 AM. And that is where I am right now: off to Nairobi and then crossing the continent for Abidjan.

2 Responses to “Calls and cuts”

  1. 1 Judith J. Haycock March 23, 2013 at 8:56 am


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