01 December 2005

M.'s birthday

Today, 1 december, is a national day and a day off in our host country. It's also M.'s birthday: he's turned seven. As of 4.30 in the morning he kept storming into our bedroom, we could hold him off until 6 am, then we had to give him his birthday present: part 4 of the Harry Potter cyclus, which A. and I enjoy ourselves a lot too (we have some of the films on DVD too, but they are not nearly as good as the books, as usual).

M.'s birthday party yesterday was fun too, with all the classical ingredients: his best friends, cake, lemonade, lots of presents, lots of laughter and a M. in tears at the end of the day to release all the built-up tension. He went to bed a happy boy though.

Morale's still up, especially after I had a relatively productive 2 hours at work yesterday in which I managed to truly concentrate on what I was doing, for the first time in almost three weeks. We're preparing a file for a 6 MEUR project to help the Ministry of Finance through technical assistance manage the country's dismal public finances better. This may not sound as sexy as building hospitals and saving lives in the bush, but if this projects works (a big if, as always here) then it will actually save a lot of lives, indirectly, and improve the quality of even more lives. It's a file close to my heart that was getting ready to be submitted for approval to HQ when I fell ill. I got very worried that we wouldn't make an internal deadline of 15 december, which would have delayed the thing by at least 3-4 months, which is a lot in a country with a deepening social crisis on its hands. Now I am more confident we will make it.

The point is now not to overdo it and to stick to just a few hours a day: 2,5 hours is my present maximum, then my brains give up on me and I have to rest. But rest is so much more pleasant wheen you've actually done a bit of work.

Eventually we'll get there.


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