We spent all of yesterday with the core team of facilitators – reviewing the program in the morning and then practice sessions followed by feedback in the afternoon. The enthusiasm is quite amazing. It is not often that I work with government officials who arrive early and stay late, making 12 hour days. They are taking on sessions and teaching about concepts that they are still discovering themselves. They will be just a step or so ahead of the participants. One of the two regional directors whose districts will be in the program has entirely cleared his agenda. Both he and another high level official from the central government are fully present all the time.

The room setup is far from ideal. The room is filled to capacity with a huge oval made from gleaming tables that are immovable. The chairs are bulky and there are not enough for the number of participants we expect so we have to put regular chairs in the narrow strip that runs along the center of the oval. The floor is covered with extension cords holding other extension cords holding other extension cord and on and on. I suspect all of this goes into one socket.

Along both sides of the room are theatre chairs, bolted to the floor which, in their up position, leaves some space to pass from back to front, but when filled will not. There are few wall surfaces we can hang things on, even if we remove the giant pictures which reveal scary electrical outlets and dust from centuries. There are many large shiny and tasseled curtains in front of the windows and doors. It is not the most difficult place I have done workshops in but it will be a challenge.

Today will be yet another trust fall although less scary than the previous ones during this trip. Now I know the facilitators and that they are fully engaged. They want to succeed as much as I want them to, maybe even more. This has become their program and they have made promises to the big bosses and so, as one participant said, nous n’avons pas droit d’erreur. For me that is a bit stark, as mistakes are bound to happen, but, globalement, as people love to say here, we are on the right path and there will be results if we continue this way. Of that I am sure.

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May 2014
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