The last day of the Sierra Leone Leadership course - August 30th 2013

The delegates surprise me by coming less formally dressed, a Friday workplace tradition there as well as here. Some are wearing traditional African clothes and this prompts a discussion on where I should go to get the best African shirts for my husband and son. Alsuine (Immigration number 2) tells me he will take me to Victoria Park in the morning. The final day is packed and very successful, we have covered a lot of ground, worked at a sufficiently high level and everyone has a clear action plan for their next steps.  I give everyone a copy of The Gherkin Guide and they all say they will think of me when they see the building on the TV (I tell them to think of Norman Foster too!) The feedback is great and I let the group know they have given me as much as I have given them. Alfred takes a quick photo on my phone before Mr. Koroma arrives for the official closing and presentation – looking at it later I realise he has captured a very relaxed moment (Albert is even holding a cup of tea!) and I’m glad to have it to remember everyone by.

We hire the Hotel Mariam car and driver to give us a tour around Freetown after dark, navigating the numerous holes in the roads is very different in a regular car to travelling in a 4 by 4 government vehicle and I’m sure we do lots of extra miles just avoiding the holes! The capital is absolutely overflowing with happy, colourful, noisy life and I’m so glad I got to see it at night – the biggest crowds are at bars showing European football matches, football is massive here – they even show it at the cinema. They don’t show anything else.

A relaxed moment captured – nice to have this as a contrast to the formal photo taken shortly afterwards (nobody smiles in the formal photos).

A relaxed moment captured – nice to have this as a contrast to the formal photo taken shortly afterwards (nobody smiles in the formal photos).

 


Sierra Leone TV arrives - August 28th 2013

Sierra Leone TV come to film the opening of the course for the news and Chief Immigration Officer Alpha Kholifa Koroma introduces me as the most knowledgeable and celebrated leadership trainer worldwide (No, I didn’t write it myself). He, Alfred and Tom Ashwanden (Head of Governance, EU Delegation to Sierra Leone) talk about the work of the EU and ICMPD and the MIEUX Action programmes in Sierra Leone (this is one of them) and we go outside for the official photograph. The 14 delegates are all very formally dressed – I secretly thank my Mum for persuading me to put a very formal suit in my case at the last minute, even though it was wool. (Wool!!! Make a mental note, next time I come to Africa on business- buy lightweight formal suits!) Day 1 goes well, we achieve a lot. Afterwards Alfred and I walk along Aberdeen Beach (Tony Blair famously photographed here) we turn back after reaching the Chinese casino and visiting the roundabout where everyone gathers after dark to chat (all sitting on the roundabout itself!) All the hotel staff gather to watch the news with us after dinner (fish and chips again). Alfred and Tom on a lot – I appear briefly (Mr. Koroma’s introduction of me makes the edit).

Chief Immigration Officer Alpha Kholifa Koroma,Sierra Leone's senior immigration officers, EU Officials Tom Ashwanden and Alfred Woeger and me.

Chief Immigration Officer Alpha Kholifa Koroma,Sierra Leone's senior immigration officers, EU Officials Tom Ashwanden and Alfred Woeger and me.