It has been two weeks since I last wrote.  It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. We finally landed and stepped out of the roller coaster when Tessa, Steve and Axel met with the neurologist. This was the top doc from Dartmouth who she had last seen two weeks earlier in the emergency room. As it turned out we had been given rather confusing, and at times scary, information. The last visit finally brought some clarity, which Tessa has described very well on the Mealtrain website so I will not repeat. Tessa may become a case for students to test their diagnostic skills one day.  She is recovering now, which may take a while. We are grateful that all the scary diseases have been ruled out.

After rushing back from Holland and then staying in a hotel in Manchester (NH) near the hospital, and several trips back and forth to the other Manchester, I finally returned home and to work.  I had just a little over a week before getting on a plane again. First to DC where I stood in for a colleague to moderate/facilitate a panel of disability activists, all formidable women, at a conference organized by Interaction, an umbrella organization representing both international development and humanitarian organizations. The session was about strategies for inclusion (who are we not reaching?), a complex topic. Some 30 people came to the session and engaged in spirited conversations that produced some very actionable ideas.

And then it was off to Africa again. I flew from DC, rather than returning first to Boston; besides it was convenient to return to DC on July 1st to celebrate our friend Larry’s 70th. Axel will drive down with a stop in NYC, and we will drive back up together on Tessa’s birthday (July 2).

I am glad I don’t usually fly out of DC (Dulles). The summer travel chaos reminded me what a great airport we have in Boston. The plane was so full that I couldn’t even bring my carry on. When I picked my seat the evening before I had one free seat beside me. But that was now taken by a 4 year old and his 6 year old brother. Dad wisely traded places with another family that wanted to sit together, and picked a window seat several rows away from his kids. Mom with daughter sat in the row in back of us.

All this meant that I had to take on dad’s job (I didn’t want to trade for a window seat), such as how the screens worked, and help with dinner. It also meant I had to worry constantly about sticky drinks being tipped over onto me.  Luckily this didn’t happen. However, the two boys, and their sister discovered a cart in the galley with unlimited coca cola. All through the 7 hours flight, while I was trying to sleep, they crawled over and under me, plastic cups with coca cola in their hands, and exclamations during movies that were not modulated by hearing their own voice. Sometimes all three kids sat next to me, and sometimes only one, squeezing back and forth between my knees and the chair in front of me. I should have bought the 145 Euro upgrade to the next class up which I had refused because I would have been in a middle seat.

And now I am in Paris, waiting to board the flight to Togo where I am joining colleagues from ICRC to get more rehab center staff ready to transform their centers.

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June 2017
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