Work and play

With some 60 people we have been working towards the creation of next year’s workplan; an annual ritual in my world of work. It’s a complex undertaking as not everyone is on the same level when it comes to the art of planning. This year ministry and NGO counterparts have been invited to participate, a good first step to ownership. I can’t think of any other way to move in that direction. They returned to Tana at the end of Wednesday. We hope they are doing the ‘restitution’ that is always required for people attending meetings or workshops, and that they transfer some of their excitement and enthusiasm to their bosses.

The activity planning was done first on the computer and then copied on color-coded cards that were laid out on a series of sheets, per ‘grande ligne,’ as the domain of intervention level is called here, and then per quarter. This allowed the various work groups to align and coordinate activities that are focused on the same target group as the bottom of the health pyramid. There is much that they are supposed to be doing, the local NGO staff who are the hyphen between our project and the community health volunteers.

It was hard work and took twice as long as I was led to believe but somehow all this didn’t seem to matter; we were all together in one spot, there was really no place to go and the days were thus quite elastic.

In the afternoon we were bussed to the very center of Madagascar (people checked this with their smartphones and confirmed this). It is called the island of the virgin, l’île des la vièrge, and there is a large structure that looks like a high diving platform with Mary on top. Everyone had their project T-shirt except me so I avoided being in the pictures so as not to mess up the red and white harmony.Mikolo-fete-7.15 009

I really had no role today (nor tomorrow). I am at work but it is a very light load, with the emphasis having shifted from work to fun. All day I followed the crowd, most of the time not really knowing what was going to happen next. As it turned out, after the visit to the virgin’s island, a sort of obstacle course and a series of team challenges was set up on the grounds of the hotel, right next to the lake. Teams competed under loud pumping music and cheers from their colleagues.

It was a lot of fun and it occurred to me that we could use something like this at HQ in order to have some fun together. We used to have this sort of fun but that was a long time ago.

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