First day in the office

Trip Start Feb 02, 2008
Trip End May 03, 2008

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Out for nice dinner last night by way of informal briefing with Raphael - who has been Acting Regional Director until i got here. We went to a place right on the sea front called Terrou-Bi for pizza and pasta and a few cold beers. It cools off at night, but is still pretty warm really.

First day in office today. Nice cool morning with a wind blowing, and it's a five minute walk from my flat ... past the Dakar new olympic sized swimming pool, and a big mosque, to the newly built office. It's v smart. We rented for years in Dakar, and then in the face of rocketting rents, decided to buy a dilapidated premises, and totally remodel and do it up ... since we are likely to have a regional managemnt cntr here for many years to come (and can always sell it if not). So its pretty zippy looking from the outside, and v well fitted out on the inside.

Very busy day - walkabout & intros, where's the coffee and where's the loo & who does what etc - straight into 0900 Incident Management Group mtng on Chad from where you know we are trying to evac people, and help them to decide who shd stay ... to maintain minimum ops., then a mtng with my PA on various practicalities and how she and I will work together, followed by a big mtng with all Regional office staff (c. 40) to intro myself (in French) and speak with them about my priorities, and hear from them their concerns. V positive. Then a Regional Management Team mtng (Human Resources, Finance, Policy, Humanitarian, Programmes, etc for a more substantive discussion of their issues. Then a midday quick update mtng on Chad actions ....
LUNCH BREAK .... phew .... : a lovely prawn curry at my desk doing emails & reading !!!
Then a longer induction/handover mtng with Raphael ... i'll have several more of those.
Followed by a final mtng on Chad, then writing an update for Oxford, which I will edit and cut/paste for you below.
So all in all, crammed full - pretty much like any day in any office (except for the Chad bit I guess !).

My walk in to work takes me past a large building site (there's a huge amount of construction going on it Dakar), and past a small kiosk street shop in a kind of tin shack with a big fridge of cold drinks in it which takes up most of the tiny kiosk ! - also past a fruit seller (must get my 5 a day from him) and a shoe shine boy, and only a few beggars by the mosque. In general a pleasant but v dusty and sandy walk due to the cooling wind this morning - you can't have everything !
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