We are done! We closed our first LDP workshop yesterday. It was supposed to be an LDP+ workshop, the + standing for additions and improvements that have to do with country ownership, evaluation, governance, gender and a better structure for coaching. Since the teams here are not in a ministry but rather in an international organization that, in the end, will do what I do now here, the adaptations created, at times, great confusion. It was hard to get one’s head around it sometimes (“no, you would not do the situational analysis in the country because your participants would do it.”) and particularly switching back and forth between in French and English so fast and so often that sometimes I forgot in which language I spoke.

But in the end most got it. Four teams have articulated a vision that aligns with the institutions strategic orientations, what they do and don’t know in relation to that vision, and a mostly but not completely measurable result.

I kept looking at my watch as we went consistently over time. My Senegalese co-facilitator told me to let go and accept that I am in West Africa and things are different here, time-wise especially. I uttered some feeble counter arguments but West Africa carried the day (we used to call this WAWA when I lived in Senegal 30+ years ago – West Africa Wins Again). We ended a little over an hour after official closing time. The deputy of the institution’s chief came to close, we cleaned the room, made a group picture and left. I did learn in the meantime that I am scheduled to be back here for workshop number 2 in six weeks. I didn’t know but I can see that it makes sense.

I was invited at the home of one of our participants for dinner. Her husband picked me up because she was not well. That happens when one is 6 weeks pregnant and sick as a dog. It is amazing how she managed this whole week. During the short time I was at her home and then brought back in their car, I counted at least 4 episodes that required her stepping out of the room/car to throw up. Poor thing.

Their 7 year old son was all ears for my travels. He brought out his world map where we traced them. To my disappointment and surprise, given his enthusiastic reaction to my stories and pictures, he wants to become a real estate business man. I hope that he will revise his life goals and that I planted a seed. I can’t imagine that Bobo Dioulasso needs another real estate mogul but I am sure his parents wouldn’t mind as there may not be much of a pension for them and dad has a calling from God which may not add much to the nest egg.

I am in the middle of a malaria region and the workshop took place in research institute where there is much activity focused on malaria eradication, prevention and treatment. yesterday was world malaria day and we hope that reminder added to the urgency of getting this big killer under control.

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