Back and forth

Our presentation before USAID of the work plan for year one was so much better than the rehearsal, as it should be. The meeting had been shortened by 30 minutes but we managed to stay within those boundaries and even leave some time for comments. We digested the experience over lunch and then everyone went their way. I stayed for a brief orientation of a few diehards to make sure they know what kinds of resources we have in the wider MSH family and how to access them.

Upon the return to my hotel  I rewarded myself for the successful completion of my first assignment with a 90 minute hot stone massage – something I had been looking forward to. Managing short openings between calls with Boston I managed to enjoy a short dinner and sat by the poolside. It was ‘African night’ and the buffet offered only African food (at least for the main course). It turned out to be the only African food I have eaten here (if you exclude the lunch dishes at the office).  It included an astonishing array of starches, any kind of meat and a few veggies – delicious but filling. It was also music night with the same band as last week singing the same mournful songs.

The driver, who besides being the top driver and an ‘arranger of everything,’ showed up on the dot at the appointed time. He had told me I had to be at the airport 3 hours before my departure at 9:10. That turned out to be way more time than was needed to make one’s way through the various check-in steps. As a result I was the first and one and only passenger and made for a very quick check-in process. The only delay was caused by a search in my baggage for ‘a radio with antenna,’ which the security staff claimed I had in my duffel bag. It turned out to be an electric toothbrush.

By now my Arlington colleagues have arrived in Amsterdam and are waiting for their plane to DC.  One of them was part of the team I joined 28 years ago at MSH when we started a 30 year run of management capacity building and laid the foundations for MSH’s later reputation in management, leadership and governance for health. We did not work much together after 1990, moving in different directions. And so we did a lot of reminiscing about the memories we have in common. I remember when I was young I found listening to old people reminisce boring. Now it is my turn.

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