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Friday, August 15, 2008

YETAM: 2nd Day of Rwanda Training

Today's a holiday in Rwanda so I slept in late and have some time to catch up on other work. Slept well last night but encountered my first nighly mosquito.... annoying how they buzz in your ear. And I stopped taking the malaria pills.... but I figure one mosquito won't hurt. I'll see what Gatsibo is like though....

Last night we stopped by the bank to cash the check to cover our expense for the next 3 weeks and waited in line, I kid you not, for 2 whole hours. There must have been 100 people in line ahead of us, the place was wall to wall. I realized how nice debit cards and ATMs are.... we take them for granted, but imagine if you had to manage your life in cash, pay all bills in cash, and wait in line for an hour or so every time to do it. Wow. I feel so lucky with my online banking.

We're going to hit the town tonight (I finally changed some money too!) and then tomorrow Joseph, his girlfriend and other friend Tony are going to take me around Kigali. We'll see the downtown and also visit the Genocide Memorial. I wonder how that will feel. The Kigali that I'm seeing is so calm and orderly, so nice, that I can't imagine that less than 15 years ago there was bloody mass genocide happening right here. It think the memorial will be pretty overpowering.

Well, related to work, I got some great great news from different colleagues today -- our Netherlands office is interested in funding the Social Change through Social Media workshop in Kenya in December; the German office wants to put the virtual visits on their website and may have possibilities of funding future work in that area; and the Japanese office is making a Japanese virtual visit this month and will post all our other VVs plus the Japanese one on their website. Very exciting!

At 2 I have to be on a conference call related to Plan's participation in the 3rd World Congress on Child Sexual Exploitation. Hoping my phone works well enough to make the connection. I'm participating on the Child and Adolescent Participation Commission (CAPC) with people from UNICEF, ECPAT and Save the Children in different countries. There is a lot of stuff to work out still regarding children's participation in the conference and very little time since it's happening at the end of November.... Within Plan there is a broad task force from all the different regions who are feeding into the process in different countries and regions, and the linking in to Plan's global process via the lead coordinator for it in our Swedish office. Then I'm trying to be the link between the CAPC and the Plan task force. It's a bit confusing at times with so much information and so many things happening at once and such a short time frame.

The workshop with the partners yesterday went really well, but we still have a lot to do. It was supposed to be 3 days but due to the holiday was only 2, so there's a missing 8 hours in there. We got to the point of mapping out who's doing what, but only very generally. There were different ideas of what to do about that, but most people feel that it's really important to have a precise schedule for at least the first week. Chrystel is busy today and tomorrow getting all the last supplies to take with us (stationery, first aid kit, computers, art supplies, etc.) so we agreed that I would take the draft agenda and try to put in into a grid with times/responsible people to share back with the partners. They all agreed to come in at 10 on Sunday, before we take off to Gatsibo, to finalize it. We also have to check through the equipment, make sure batteries are charged, see if anything is missing that we need, and make sure the computer software is all loaded and running.

On the home front.... Clare has decided to get her hair cut and she might do it while I'm gone (Gasp!!!). She's donating it to locks of love to make wigs for cancer survivors. I hope she at least sends me a picture of the new style so I'll know what to expect. She's developing her sense of style and stuff since she's almost 12.

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