Ethiopia is in mourning because of the killing of Ethiopians in Libya and South Africa. For three days music and dance is banned. This also means the music I play in the conference room, just as I was having fun with my Congolese music and seeing the reaction from the DRC team. We had proposed an outing to a cultural restaurant with all our participants but now I don’t think it makes much sense. Most of our participants don’t seem to care much about the Ethiopian food, they’d go for the dancers and music. We were also told to stay in the hotel because of large scale manifestations not far from our hotel. I was seeing them on TV, which goes to show that lots can go on around you without you even knowing it.

Watching TV, which I rarely do had at home, is truly soul sucking with disasters, man-made and other all around us, both on this continent and adjacent continents.

We are entering day 3 of what we call module I of the senior leadership program. We have teams from Chad, Madagascar, Togo, Burundi, Niger and the DRC. Each team is made up differently and some are more homogeneous than others (as in only men). We are getting to know people and learning their ways. The facilitators from ICRC are becoming good friends and everyone is learning.

We are up against cultural, economic, political forces that can be hard to understand by people who don’t know these countries, yet I see small sparks of hope and possibilities in some people. I am fanning these sparks like crazy.

Our teaching team is small so the work is intense. We are trying to be receptive and adaptive, which makes for long days, stretching in the night, especially when the internet works and our inboxes deliver more tasks as the next assignments are stacking up like planes on a runway ready for takeoff.

Axel is having a wonderful time in Holland, eating white asparagus and enjoying the bulbs and, hopefully, getting a boost of his Dutch, as there is nothing like total immersion. He is doing the rounds of family and friends, with the latest spotting of him in Amsterdam.

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April 2015
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