(I've changed the name from "Rants" given that I can't really rant about many things that frustrate me here, at least not without getting into some sort of trouble. As such, you'll have to wait for the book.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

La Grande Pomme

(written last week) 
A big shout-out to the NSA who, I'm sure, is a regular reader of my blogs. I hope these entries are more entertaining that my phone calls.

our bldg. is on the left, Chrysler Bldg. on the right
I’m in New York. We’re having our annual directors’ meetings and it’s been a packed week with little free time. It’s ok, I suppose. We come all this way from all over the world; we really need to maximize our time. Given that I’ve left wife and children in Bujumbura, I’ve cut my travel as short as possible. No additional days on either side.

I arrived on Saturday night, ran a few errands and called it a night. Sunday I went to church/lunch with our friend Liya. It was marathon Sunday as it always is when I go to NY in November. I’m increasingly tempted to run it. Maybe next year.

The week has been a blur. It seems to come hard and fast and all of the sudden you’re catching an airplane to leave. I guess that’s the way it should be given all the expense and trouble to get us all there.

autumn in Central Park
On Monday night I had dinner with a board member and his wife. This is a good tradition, linking those of us in the field with people who give to the organization and play representational roles. Last year I had a memorable dinner with Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving JFK sibling. She’s a wonderful woman and quite entertaining. This year I had dinner with an investment banker who hosted a few of us at his amazing penthouse residence in Manhattan. He’s fairly new to the board and seems to be full of enthusiasm for the work of our organization. And did I say he has a cool house?

Bill and David
On Tuesday we had a big meeting with our famous new president, David M. (I try not to use a lot of full names in this blog just in case people don’t like being searched/found in random places on the web). He seems fully engaged and he’s certainly smart enough for the job. All eyes are watching.
Wednesday was another full day of meetings and then the big gala event at the Waldorf. This is an annual thing that brings out some of the rich and famous of NY. It’s first and foremost a fundraiser so my presence there is to interact with people who support the organization. We are the connection to the work on the ground. 

S. Pelley and an entertaining former refugee
This year we had in our midst a former president, a former secretary of state, current US ambassador to the UN among many others. It’s always an interesting evening and this was no exception. There are a lot of people that I know only through this event and we thus have connected on a regular basis over the past few years. By the way, Madeleine is far shorter than I would have guessed…

Thursday and Friday were a bit lighter and I was able to load up on stuff to take back to Burundi. It is an important ritual that assures our stocks of the absolute necessities – things that would appear in virtually every wilderness survival kit: breakfast cereal, nutella, gruyere, diapers, etc. You get the idea.

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