30 July, 2015

I have had to run days

These past four months have been rather frantic for me.

It all started end of March when I was informed that a USD10.5 million budget cut in ILRI's budget had led to my position being made redundant. Determined to find a new job within the six months' separation period, I started a job search while also closing shop at ILRI and in Kenya.

So from April to July I have spent many hours on the phone and skype selling myself to potential employers, flew to France for several job interviews, sang Mozart's Requiem with the Nairobi Music Society in Tony Davies' farewell concert, went to see the gorillas and chimps in their natural environment in Rwanda with a tour operator whose name reflected my state of mind, got a really painful food poisoning attack there, facilitated a joint ILRI-CIRAD research workshop, sold off all my electric appliances and curtains, organized and performed an emotional medley of songs with the Greenwood Singers, finalized six scientific articles and conference papers with the help of colleagues and research fellows, organized and performed my farewell concert of songs and melodies about livestock with some friends from the Greenwood Singers, managed to eat and drink up most of the goodies in my pantry with friends and colleagues, supervised the packing of my belongings, moved out of my apartment, ran 13 km for the first time in my life, sold my car, flew again to France for more job interviews, finished editing one book and four reports - all work-related - and sent them for layout before publication, took a safari with Douglas Nagi to visit Aberdares, Samburu and Marsabit parks, nearly went on duty travel to Rwanda and DRC, coordinated the finalization of my new job contract with all the institutional partners involved, ran 13 km for the second time in my life, walked all around ILRI campus to collect all the signatures needed to let ILRI release me.

My last night in Kenya yesterday was extremely enjoyable: I received an invitation from Claire and Christian Turner to their Residence for a private concert by the Nairobi Chamber Chorus. After three years of rehearsing with Greenwood Singers and Christian at his home, I did not get lost this time. It is great to leave this country with the rythms, harmonies and smiles of these extraordinary cultural ambassadors for Kenya in mind, and their latest CD in my bag.

The photos illustrating this blog are from the more sedate parts of this marathon: lilacs flowering in the spring in the lower French Alps, contented gorilla family in Rwanda's parc national des volcans, elephant bull splurging on palm dates next to the kitchen at Samburu Elephant Bedroom Camp and blocking the dinner service, view of Paradise Lake in Marsabit national park.

I fly out of Kenya tonight. Stay tuned to this station to find out my next destination.

Manic Monday
The Bangles, Different light, Warner Bros Music