Cronuts, copy and creative conversations

This morning at breakfast we joined with others from our group. They had moved here from the other hotel after seeing the plane travelling participants from last week’s course off to their various destinations. A complex undertaking as they were accompanied by two large boxes with wheelchair samples.

We had some great conversations about everything and nothing. As people learned about life in Kabul from me, I learned about cronuts which are apparently popular here (and in the US). I didn’t know that I ate one yesterday. I did notice it was exceptionally rich and left my hands greasy. Who cooked this up? I wondered. As if putting more calories in a donut is a good thing. And then to think I had a real croissant as well, a triple whammy I came to regret.

We are fine-tuning the design and preparing the materials for the stakeholder meeting that starts tomorrow. This may include a trip to Copylandia at the Mall of Asia, a 30 minute ride from here. I am sure it is a favorite Sunday attraction. I expect one mega large shopping and eating frenzy if to judge from our experience of the smaller mall (still rather large) around the corner from our hotel.

We have been looking for days for a Copycat or Kinkos here to no avail. Today we learned about Copylandia. I see a business opportunity for an enterprising young person.

After the stakeholder meeting is over we are embarking on the last part of our assignment here: a management and stakeholder workshop on Wednesday and Thursday. Somewhat complementing the basic skills training course of last week, it is for those who run wheelchair service or training programs, or want to start one and who are in decision making roles. The program requires considerable technical expertise about wheelchairs and so most of the sessions will be run by our local experts. M and I will do the few sessions that are related to management of resources and change. There is nothing to design as it is a pilot; we just follow a script.

Last night we went to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant, a surprising combination I had not seen before. When we entered we were met with the welcoming shouts I remember from Japan but not the bows, illustrating that this was indeed a joint enterprise. We asked for Shabu-Shabu and got Mongolian hotpot which is basically the same, although my Shabu-Shabu experience in Japan was more elegant and refined. This one reminded me of our Mongolian hotpot meal which Axel, Tessa and I enjoyed in Bejing 11 years ago.

Yesterday was the Harvard Social Enterprise Conference in which I participated with Sita and Axel last year. I had to cancel this year but Tessa took my place, continuing the near complete family participation. Sita had organized, pro bono, a complex and creative series of sessions (Idealabs) in her role as US President of the Value Web – a worldwide network of graphic facilitators and we were her helpers. I am sorry I missed it and am waiting for the reports. I am going to try something creative here myself – not that creative but surely more creative than what the participants will be expecting; song, dance, poetry or other art forms are on the program.

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