Mon 18 - fri 22 feb
Trip Start Feb 02, 2008
16Trip End May 03, 2008
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started to liven up on Thursday.
Invitation to Brit Embassy to attend "a reception to celebrate the 100th anniv of the Ambassador's residence" - any excuse for a party i guess. about 200 guests of all shapes and sizes - from NGOs like us, to other diplomats and Senegalese institutions of diff kinds. Good evening actually, out in the grounds of the lovely building - built in the old quarter of Dakar. I went along with a couple of Oxfam people who'd also rec'd invites. Ambassador Christopher Trott is a friendly man, and made a good speech about cultural diversity and religious tolerance. Senegal is 95% Muslim, but has a strong Christian community also, with a huge cathedral in the centre of town. Of course mosques in every district - in cluding one just across from our office, which makes Friday's a bit noisy - but convenient for staff. It's a devout state, but very tolerant and peaceful. The Islam here is for the most part very liberal and progressive.
After the reception a larger very eclectic group of us (including SCF and Reuters and British American Tobacco folks!)went on to a Lebanese restaurant in town called Fahim's where we had wonderful "meze" and just talked and nibbled our way to about midnight ! I sat next to someone who had also been at Newcastle Univ, AND has a house backing onto Alby's primary school in York ! lots of things in common to talk about - but all several thousand miles away !
evening drink with team.
i took my team (plus some kids and partners) out for an after-work drink, just to a local bar near the office, to start the weekend. We had a good time and they are an excellent bunch - i think i've said before what a very internationally mixed team it is, and a hard core of four of us stayed until late ... talking together. Sam is from Sierra Leone .... he's my sort of age, and one of the senior foursome. He's worked with Action Aid for many years b4 joining us. Bryan (our african american HR manager who grew up "in the (housing)projects" ie.the ghetto, in Washington DC) and Peter (British Reg prog Mngr) - all ended up talking over lots of ice cold beers on a hot sticky night about our respective "sense of where we are each from" and also where we most "belong" and "are most at home" (if those are different) and our different attitudes to community and family.... and what we have learnt.
It was a really special evening, quite memorable, as was the bill.