February 28, 2005


I was away for a week to work on a Strategic Plan workshop. It was generally interesting, mostly long and always tiring. Now, with the help of colleague, I have to pour through the dozens of graphs, tables and hand-written notes and put together some form of cohesive summary of the workshop.

The people who attended the workshop came from different organizations, ethnicities, religious convictions and centers of interests. The workshop started and ended with an Abbé saying/signing a catholic prayer in French, and the participants crossing themselves to seal off the deal. The prayer was followed by a Doyen saying a Muslim prayer in Arabic, followed by hands cupped to receive the blessing and then rubbed of the face and the scalp.

The lunch breaks were punctuated with description of secret ceremonies in the wood to "become a man", different beliefs in the South versus the middle of the country, the traditional foods that each region savors and frequent, good-natured self-deprecation of one's culture.

It's a pleasure to be different here. It's also refreshing to be able to ask questions (purely out of curiosity) without offending anyone.

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