Today all the team leaders and their teams put the final touches on the year one work plan. It is now one day to ‘lift off’ – the first official presentation of the work plan to USAID  Getting ready for this was a massive undertaking which required great attention to detail and alertness to version control, while working on the less than user friendly interface of Excel. Excel focuses attention on detail, the trees, making it hard to see the forest. One can get lost.

This afternoon we rehearsed the presentation to USAID. It was a real feat to get all the pieces come together into the required formats and have everyone in the room to rehearse. I am glad we did – everyone learned something and we will all be the better for it tomorrow when it is show time.

We have tried to work on Google Drive – something MSH is pushing and for which I have advocated. But the experience here, at a distance from the more or less guaranteed and fast internet and power we have in the US, is less than ideal and the experience frustrating.  It’s a good reminder of the conditions that make the work of our colleagues in the field so challenging – at headquarters we sometimes forget that.

At headquarters we also sometimes forget that changing the time of calls is inconvenient for people many time zones removed.  For us travelers between field projects and headquarters, with initiatives or work with other field projects that don’t take a break while we are away, this makes for long work days.  When our work day in Rwanda ends the work day starts in Boston and DC.  On Tuesday I rushed back to the hotel to be seated at my computer, connected, headphones on – foregoing the 6PM cocktail hour to decompress – only to find out at the last minute that the meeting has been cancelled and another one, following a bit later, was delayed.  It makes for frequent room service dinners and few occasions to disconnect from the computer and work.  But then again, this is the reality of our work, and for us travelers always a temporary condition.

On Friday night my other two colleagues return home to DC and I will be by myself. I have made an appointment with Hanna who is reputed to be the best hot stone massage therapist in town. I reserved 90 minutes for this; afterwards I will treat myself to a nice dinner, a glass of wine and go to bed early to get up before dawn for my early morning flight to Nairobi.

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January 2015
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