Showtime

Today we have planned the second module of our Leadership Program, the same as last week in Niamey. The program was supposed to start at 11AM in the main conference room but when we went there to set things up we could not enter. The DG, faced with an impromptu visit from the labor union, has requisitioned the room. It took at a while to figure out where to go. Several department chiefs offered their conference rooms. Everywhere cleaners were dispatched to clean these rooms. In the meantime we waited under a tree for instructions on where to go, while the temperature rose and rose. Lethargy swept over the hospital. Everywhere people were sleeping on mats, on chairs, or simply on the ground.

A very young girl arrived with her parents – she walked with a limp. The PT happened to be there and he asked the girl to pull up her skirt and walk. She too was the victim of an injection gone awry. Luckily, he told me later, exercises will be able to correct her posture and get rid of the limp.

Our team here spent a good deal of yesterday and this morning preparing, writing their flipcharts in large script, running out of space, having to do it over again – drawing a schematic several times until they get it right.

We practiced the visioning session – where people have to draw their vision of the center. Dj. is utterly stumped. Eventually she draws a kind of architectural plan of the new (dream) center, with some difficulty. I explain how individual visions are shared and then turned into a shared vision. It is such a novel concept. Luckily this session is facilitated by the young ICRC program assistant who is now the master trainer. He has done this module last week in Niamey. I see him grow in confidence in front of my eyes. He is now helping his co-trainer to prepare and become more confident.

I asked her to rate her level of confidence on a 10 point scale. After some hesitance she says ‘in the middle.’ When I insist on a number she says ‘a 7.’ I ask her what it will take to move to an ‘8.’  She utters a few clichés, like ‘become more confident, ‘have ‘sangfroid,’ ‘get out of my comfort zone,’ while I keep asking ‘but how?’  I keep hoping she says ‘through preparation,’ but she doesn’t and so finally I utter the word. ‘Oh, yes, of course she says, ‘preparation!’

The young ICRC assistant is also the logistician, organizing handouts, materials and something to eat and drink during a brief lunch break. I love how he says, ‘pas de souci,’  because I know he is right; I need not worry because he has taken care of things. He is reliable and honest, now he needs to learn to speak more audibly and with more confidence.

We just learned that we have seats on the UNHAS flight tomorrow. I had been a little nervous about that given our delayed flight coming out. With UNHAS nothing is guaranteed and one knows only 24 hours in advance whether the trip is on or not.  The only alternative to flying is a 14 hour bus ride that starts at 4AM in Zinder and arrives early evening in Niamey. That is, if all goes well, ‘incha’allah’ they say here, because life is full of surprises and unexpected turns of events, and God only knows (and wills).

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