On-Off-On: Restart

It’s been 3 weeks of silence. After the traumatizing events in my family a month back, I must confess I lost a little bit of inspiration in my Kenyan adventure. But then I went home and spent time with my family and friends, and then I came back.

After more than 15,000km of travel back and forth, after emotionally and physically intense one week, beginning of the week I landed back in Bungoma, Western Kenya, to plunge into a busy schedule of meetings and trainings, birthday celebrations and farewell parties. Finally, on Friday evening I was totally exhausted.img_5834

But today, after a relaxing weekend with my new friends in Bungoma, and a good night sleep, this trip feels like a mental and physical restart. It feels good. And with a fresh mind, in the mid of my assignment, I find it’s a good moment for some reflections on my PULSE work experience.

Normally when you take a role you don’t think about it ending. You think about it beginning. And yet this one is different. You know you have a 6 month window, and then you move on. First months you try to figure out what is really expected of you, what you have to achieve, make your own way. And as you finally figure it out, time has gone by.

Good news is – towards the mid of my assignment I realize I am already doing a lot, in my effort not to waste time, I have already achieved quite a lot of my objectives. So one big learning I’ll take from my first 3 months is following – this is in fact enough time to start, settle and achieve first milestones. If you did it in a completely different cultural, ‘business’ and economic environment, you can do it just about anywhere. Another good learning for me – 3 months in a role and you feel already settled. So it’s a good moment to switch off. And on again. This is where my one week break came into place. I went home, completely disconnected from African reality for a week, visiting friends and family in Bulgaria and Poland. And came back. This felt like a complete computer restart. And it feels good. I look at my projects with fresh eyes and I feel I have new boost of energy for the months to come.

Bad news is – there’s less than three months to go. With the progress we did so far, team is really inspired to achieve twice more in the months to go. This is ambitious, but also in a way motivating, this will further put me outside my comfort zone, and this is when normally I learn most. There’s no time or effort to waste. So I’ll have to learn the true meaning of relentless prioritization. Beyond that, it’s also time to think about sustainability – what will be left behind, when I’m gone.

Finally, It’s time to think about going back. What’s next for me? In fact, I don’t know if I’ll go back to my previous role or I’ll move to a new one, but I know one thing for sure – going back is not moving back. This experience is changing me. Every single meeting with beneficiaries, mothers, children, health workers, every new story of a life lost or a life saved, every new challenge I face in work, every new task I need to solve, every new trip I make privately, every new friendship I make – they are changing me. Today I’m a different person than I was three months ago. Tomorrow a new me will travel back home…

I stay on the balcony of the hotel, my day has passed really slowly, and yet I’m racing madly in my mind. This is exciting time of change. I wish you could experience it too!

As a final word, I’m sharing with you the sunset I captured yesterday evening. Even when we race with time, we need to be able to stop and enjoy the small moments. Happiness only exists here and now. Enjoy it! 🙂



  1. Welcome back, Vani. I like your ‘computer reboot’ analogy. Best of luck for your last few months in Kenya. Jon

  2. Vani, great blog! I totally can relate: There is about 2 months left to my assignment at PATH, in Dakar, Senegal. Very similar thoughts are going through my mind: sustainability, so much left to do, leaving an amazing team, a city, a country where I am now completely settled in…But to your point, we move on. Enjoy every moment!

  3. So nice to hear your reflections Vani and to hear that you are now feeling refreshed after such a busy few weeks. There is definitely a lot of change occurring, which leads to a lot of reflections and thinking! Continue to be the change and enjoy every moment!

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