Tip #528: You Have to Have a Sense of Humor

“I know [canned music] makes chickens lay more eggs and factory workers produce more. But how much more can they get out of you on an elevator? ” Victor Borge

I’m going back to Nairobi, Kenya the second week in August to conduct a 5-day Train the Trainer program. I’ll be teaching 15 trainers how to facilitate the 22-day Business Management for Health Practices training program I designed (working with subject matter experts) and partially piloted in Nairobi late last year.

When I was asked if I had any special requirements for the training room, I had to come up with a diplomatic way of requesting a room with a solid floor (no huge tiles cracking apart and tripping us), and a bathroom with a toilet that has a toilet seat, running water, toilet paper and soap. And, oh yes, a training room that is situated in a building that is both well known and accessible. Because the last trip, we didn’t have ANY of this.

I can’t request continual electricity, because no one in Nairobi can guarantee or claim that.

I’ll be bringing my own digital camcorder and tripod to videotape their practice facilitation sessions on the last day. I sure hope the electricity stays on for the duration. If not, there will be nothing I can do about it.

When I voiced my concern about going to Nairobi, considering all of the violence in Kenya at this time, my contact assured me that I would be staying at a hotel that has the best security. I’m not sure if that response was intended to validate or to allay my concerns. Probably both.

The flight time from the States to Nairobi is 21 hours. I’ll do that on the way back.

On the way there, in the hope that I am somewhat rested by the time the training starts on Monday the 11th, I will be leaving Madison on Thursday the 7th, arriving in Amsterdam on Friday the 8th. My flight to Nairobi doesn’t leave until Saturday morning the 9th, arriving late that night.

The stay in Amsterdam is supposed to break up the flight time (which I appreciate) and give me time to explore the city (about which I am decidedly dubious). Why dubious? Because I can’t manage to sleep on the plane, so I will arrive completely exhausted. The likelihood of my feeling peppy enough to go sight seeing is pretty remote. However, I guess we’ll see…

At this point, I know where I’ll be staying in Amsterdam (because I had to make that reservation) and I know where I’ll be staying in Nairobi (the same hotel I stayed at before).

I don’t know: who, if anyone, will pick me up at the Nairobi airport when I arrive; where the training will be; who my contacts will be; if the participant manuals will be printed, collated and bound as I requested (in painstaking detail); how I will get to and from the training site; whether there will be an elevator, electricity, a cross breeze in the room (air conditioning will be a non starter, I know from past experience), a usable screen, a reliable LCD projector, any flip chart easels and/or paper; how many flights of stairs I may need to walk up in complete darkness (yes, I had to do that last time, also); etc. etc.

When you keep going into complete unknowns (as I have been doing for the past three years), you have to have a sense of humor about all the uncertainties. Either that or be stark raving mad. The jury is still out on this…

May your learning be sweet.


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