Across the river and home

We got out of the mud and the next day the facilitators moved expertly to the other side of the proverbial river which we hope to cross in this first workshop. We ended before the appointed time, a good thing, as the closing speeches, the group photo and all the other things that need to be done before you can leave took longer than I had expected.

At 5:30 PM I left with my colleagues for Abidjan. Getting to Abidjan is not that difficult, but once there, dropping each one of us off took a long time. I was finally deposited at my hotel at 8 PM.

I stayed this time at a sister hotel of the Accor group, the Ibis, having vowed never to return to the Novotel. I could see the consequences of a targeted marketing campaign – the hotel was hip and clearly aimed at attracting youngsters who could afford to spend over 100 dollars for a night at a hotel. The colors were bright, orange and red, the furniture French or Italian modern, sleek lines. The average age was about 15 years younger than at the Novotel and there were few potbellied business men. The staff was young and responsive. The internet worked.

I had hoped to relax a bit before my flight back as I was exhausted from my four intense assignments. But that was not to happen. I received an email with the good news that a proposal process I was co-leading back in October and on which I had all bit given up, kicked back into gear. It was good news but bad timing as such things often are.

The flights back were full, as usual. I was able to sleep a bit on the first leg to France. The Paris Boston leg was an early flight which is done in a small-bodied plane, three seats on each side as the bulk of passengers to America appear to arrive later in the day when jumbos are called in. The smaller planes take longer but I was able to pass the time quite easily by watching 8 episodes in a row of Madmen season 6.

Whereas it was windy and cold (10C) in France, it was full summer in Boston. I could stick with my West Africa clothes. We drove to Western Mass where everyone had assembled to celebrate Mother’s Day. It couldn’t have been a nicer homecoming.

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May 2014
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