First of many

This is my first blog – ever, so will keep it short, also, if you are going to comment, please be kind.
A close friend of mine planted the seed of the Pulse program a few years ago when she said “You should do that, you would be great at it”

So, some 4 years later I was able to apply and after an application process that is interesting and thought provoking and makes you look at why you would want to do such a thing I was selected as candidate for a placement. This achievement was not one that I can claim as all my own work, I have had a lot of support from a lot of people in GSK, the Pulse program and also friends and family, but I do have special thanks to my manager Digby Smart who has always been a guide and mentor and without his help I would not be in this privileged position.

After a somewhat lengthy visa application process (4 visits to the Nigerian High Commission) I was “ready”.

I had friends and family asking me how I was feeling on the run up to my deployment and I just said that it felt like it wasn’t happening to me and must be happening to someone else, that was until the 20th June when I woke up and realised that the next day I would leave the UK to live and work in Africa, which was WOW moment number 1.

I travelled out here with a friend form GSK, Manish Burman and it came as quite a shock that he assumed that out of the two of us, he considered that I am the “responsible adult”, those of you that know me know this is simple not to be true and this was WOW moment number 2.

I have now started my 6 months’ deployment with a charity called the Malaria Consortium based in Abuja.

I arrived in Abuja on the 22nd at 5am and found myself at work by 1pm, and while I know that my primary role will be “HR manager”, having met some of the team and my manager I realise that I will be asked to do a lot of different tasks and will need to keep an open mind and be flexible, a challenge I am very much looking forward to.

We spent the weekend finding some accommodation and we are due to move in on the 2nd July, with Manish and I sharing an apartment and this lead to WOW moment number 3, he thinks I can cook!!! I did point out that I am able to burn water, so interesting times ahead.

I do intend to try to post as often as I can, time permitting, but for now, I have to sign off.


  1. Hello Ian, great to hear from you and to know you have finally arrived! We look forward to your updates on the actual work of the team, the cooking, being an HR Manager and anything about the place you can share with us.

  2. Great update Ian and lovely to hear from you. You seem to have settled well. I agree “responsible adult” and you call him a friend! He clearly doesn’t know you that well.
    Keep the posts coming as there are a lot of people here who were smiling reading that update. As you know, we can use these moments to keep us all grounded and motivated.

  3. Hi Ian

    Great to hear from you and your WOW moments, HR manager hey, I would of added that too! At least you will have an eye for data integrity.

    Take care and look forward to your updates


  4. There is a lot of WOW moments so far 🙂
    I wonder what was your first impression after seeing Nigeria – is it as you imagine?
    Could you tell us about your role? What are you doing there?
    How is your hotel?
    Could add some photos to next entry.

    Poland is crossing fingers for you!!!

  5. Lovely to hear you have started your life changing adventure Ian – sharing accommodation with Manish will be fun – even though he thinks you’re the “responsible adult” !! Keep the blogs coming, we are all hoping your assignment will be everything you dreamed of in terms of both personal and professional development!

  6. Great read – thank-you for sharing your story. I (we) look forward to hearing more about your exciting adventure in due course.

  7. Hello Ian, I sat here chuckling. Enjoy learning the art of cooking. Also raining season has started how are you coping with that? Looking forward to your next update and some pictures please.

  8. Hope you are getting on well and enjoying living and working in Nigeria! Looking forward to hearing more of your adventures and hopefully seeing some photos to go with them.
    Take care of yourself. You are doing an amazing thing! 😆

  9. How is life and work going in Nigeria? Are you adapting to your new role? Hope that you are having the chance to explore your new surroundings and starting to feel at home in Africa! Hope to see some photos in your next post. Keep sharing your adventure please! 😄

  10. Hello my friend. Great story – can’t wait for another post! Good luck and best of luck for you from Poland 🙂

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