Coming to the End of the Journey

My co-workers at AMREF

My co-workers at AMREF

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is my last day with AMREF in Kenya, and that my PULSE journey is coming to a close.  It does not feel like 6 months has already passed.  While I will be happy to go home to my family and colleagues at GSK who have been very supportive of me during this time, I will miss the staff here at AMREF.  Right from the start of my assignment, they welcomed me and treated me as one of their own.

One of the main challenges that a person faces when starting a PULSE assignment is telling the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) what you think they need instead of listening to what they need.  I spent the first few weeks here learning as much as I could about AMREF and listening to what their needs were and what they expected from me.  I feel that I have accomplished so much here over the last 6 months, but I feel that there is much more that I could do for AMREF.  I will definitely take what I have learned here back to my position at GSK.

As my time here in Kenya comes to a close I would like to thank my wife Michele and children Jenn and Kyle for this once in a lifetime opportunity.  Without their support, all of this would not have been possible.  I would also like to thank the GSK PULSE team for this opportunity and for the support that they gave me throughout this assignment.  Thanks also go out to my manager Randy at GSK along with my co-workers Shawn, David, Kegan, Subrata, and the team at Wipro who filled in for me over the past 6 months.  If there is anyone who I have not specifically named from GSK who filled in for me while on my assignment I thank you as well.

My team at AMREF was a pleasure to work with, and I will miss them.  Mette and Ravi were great managers and were always open to new ideas.  Katrin, my GSK PULSE partner, Oliver, Paul, Ritesh, N’gendo, Alice, and Boniface were a great team to work with.  We were always able to bounce ideas off one another and shared quite a few good laughs over the last 6 months while getting our work done.  Any person that comes to AMREF on a GSK PULSE assignment in the future will find this NGO as a great place to work for.

Now that my time here in Kenya is coming to an end, it’s time to leave the sunshine and temperatures of 75 to 85 F (24 to 29 C) and return to my home in the US where it is currently snowing and the temperature is about 30 F (-1 C) in the day and 15 F (-9 C) at night.  My wife said that they had 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow the other day, and that they were expecting an additional 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow today.  I will be experiencing temperature shock as well as culture shock on my return.

THE PULSE program at GSK is wrapping up its 4th year.  This year there were 100 people selected for the PULSE program from GSK offices world-wide.  I hope that they feel the same way that I do as they complete their assignments; that they were able to have a positive impact in helping the NGO’s that they worked for in their mission to help people throughout the world.