February 12

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Back from Kigali: Simple Gratitude

I wrote in an earlier blog about experiencing a bit of reentry about halfway through my 6 month assignment. A week-long trip to Portugal gave me a fleeting taste of clean water and comfort food.  But that’s not reentry.  I returned to Chicago 6 weeks ago and my next few blogs will give you a real taste of reentry.

I reached out for a PULSE experience for all the usual reasons: a desire to grow, to work with a NGO and to test my leadership and professional skills under challenging conditions.  I wanted a transformational experience.  The PULSE promise was that both my family and my GSK team mates would take the journey with me (mperekeza mu rugendo rwanjye).  They did!

So I delight in using this first reentry blog to shower simple gratitude on my family. My wife Mary and our sons, Aaron and Ben, made this 6 month sojourn possible and much more pleasurable.  The high point of each week was our family Skype call on Sunday.  Being very far away somehow re-set familiar family roles.  During those many calls, some plagued by bad reception, rain storms or missed holidays, they cheered me on, gave advice and made the time pass quickly.

Aaron and Mary

Aaron and Mary

Ben

Ben

Family takes other forms too and I found my blog readers in close orbit. Posting a blog was a little like hanging my empty stocking up on Christmas Eve.  Again, here’s my simple and deep gratitude for those e-mails, “likes” and comments that filled my stocking.

stocking stuffers

My GSK team mates also made the journey. Like Dorothy’s trip to Oz, they didn’t ask to go.  But the PULSE promise is that their 6 months would also be transformative.  That’s in my next blog.