My apologies in advance for this post, as I feel the need to share a few points of frustration, although I have been trying to keep a positive spin on everything.
We were asked to establish meeting times for the final presentations to our clients. Today, we met with Dr. Ogbe to arrange a time for our final presentation with the Executive Director, CEO. We are set up tentatively for Wednesday, July 6th at 10:30am to present our findings to the agency. However, we have spent the entire month reprogramming our brains on how to be flexible and let things happen when they happen, then for our very last task, IBM CSC has asked us to pick from a list of six specific dates/time to have a meeting with the most important person in the agency and the time slots are first come/first serve.
I have to admit that I am a little flustered by this, and it will be interesting to see how it works out. The Executive Director of the NPHCDA has been nominated for a Ministry position in the Federal government (as a result of the recent Presidential Election in Nigeria). He was already a busy man, and this nomination, of course, adds to the complexity of his already very full schedule. The general consensus at the NPHCDA is that they are happy for his impending promotion, but at the same time, they are sad because he brought so many good things to the agency and it is uncertain who will end up replacing him.
I hope that our findings will be helpful to the agency. Our agency already works with so many global organizations, (WHO, UNICEF, etc.) that the “low-hanging fruit” has mostly been picked long ago, in regards to improving the efficiency of their business processes. You may have noticed that I started out giving a lot of detail in my blog about the challenges we face, but as we have moved forward I have not spent as much time talking about it. We decided that it was better to keep the findings to ourselves at least until we have had the chance to inform the agency of our thoughts.
Friday evening, Glyn, Pradip, Sumit and myself took a taxi to the Sheraton for dinner where we each had our own pizzas from the Sheraton’s Italian restaurant. It was really tasty and I have to admit that I am kind of at my limit on eating Indian food (although I have a new-found appreciation for it), so anything else was welcome. The only restaurant within walking distance of our hotel is Indian and the cab drivers do not seem to know where anything is in town even if you have the address and the streets are clearly labeled. This is one of the things I struggle with patience for, as I shouldn’t have to say that a restaurant is next to (insert landmark here) if it has an address and in some cases cross streets. I have been told that I need to accept that things just work differently here, but I have a hard time putting aside basic logic as logic should be cross-cultural.
I understand the importance of being thrust into local culture, however since the assignment has a limited duration, it does not seem to be the best use of time for every meal (other than breakfast) to be a several hour ordeal and about half the time I end up skipping meals out of frustration. Our team is unanimously in agreement that the next CSC team to Abuja should NOT stay in this particular hotel, for a multitude of reasons, especially given the difficulty moving around due to transportation challenges.
Hopefully my next post will be more positive, but I believe that if you want the real feel for how we are doing in Nigeria, I have to share the good and the bad.
Another CSC team was just deployed to Kenya. It is exciting to see their tweets and blog posts start to come in and I am happy that they are in a place which seems to have tourism. I wish them all the best and hope they have an amazing experience!