We moved into the Gorillas hotel in Kigali for two nights. Monday was an official holiday. We used it to align expectations around our roles and how to function well as a team. In the afternoon we met with our local colleague who is seconded to the organization, about which I have yet to learn a lot. My MSH colleagues who are here with me have worked with this organization for several years and provided me with some critical contextual information.

We checked several assumptions that are implicit in the retreat design and fine-tuned or micro-designed sessions wherever possible. The design won’t get tested until we take off, always an important moment when we learn about language and other challenges. Until that moment the whole enterprise is theoretical.

Later we discovered many more unverified assumptions as well as a number of miscommunications and misunderstandings which led to some very challenging facilitation acrobatics. One lesson I learned is that if the client says we meet from 8:00 in the morning till 7:30 at night I better challenge this right away. I know such long days are counterproductive but sometimes we give the client the benefit of the doubt. That was a mistake.

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