An ideal place in other words to organize this most comprehensive of life-saving meetings about a disease that mostly affects people with the wrong kind of passport, and I am thrilled by the prospect of catching up with my fellow Africa and development experts, some of whom I haven’t been in touch with snice “back in the day” in Mexico.
Unfortunately, La Negresse, who in her capacity of HRIs Director of Diversity (DoD) is among the most trusted of my executives (where “trusted” is another word for “eager to have around for corporate photo opportunities”) will not be part of my entourage for this European journey, although her name has been added in smaller script as co-author to several of HRIs submitted abstracts authored by me and put together by Nathan the intern out of recycled USAID “success stories” and some unverifiable stuff made up to fit the audience. Some of these abstracts were “accepted” which means that HRI staff will be busy delivering “presentations” and “posters” while the main author (me) will be busy “networking”.
I expect the week in Vienna to also allow me some time to reflect on my the weeks in which I have been using the little free time I had between
HRI’s work in the two hermit kingdoms alone would deserve their own “newsletter” (Nathan is already working on the “concept paper”) but suffice to say that due to their interesting combination of size, HIV prevalence, good infrastructure, as well as a relatively uniform devotion to the right sort of religion as far as some of our donors are concerned, these two countries are well on their way to becoming HRI favorites. The hype (which is another word for $$) around Male Circumcision also helps and, as a result of my recent visit, I can already tell you that HRI will play a very important role in “creating an enabling environment”, by implementing a package containing just the right mix of “Lima Bravo Sierras”, “Avalanches”, “Hulk Hogans” and “Diegos”, with a few “Trojans” and “Weasel Hold’ems” thrown in for good measure, all topped up with a glorified “High Five” few years down the
I expect the strategy for the hermit kingdoms will be sealed and sorted during “networking sessions” Vienna, but meanwhile let’s not forget that the battle against trafficking at the world cup is not yet completed. Apparently, HRI & affiliates vigilance has also paid off so far and countless cases of trafficking have been successfully avoided at this world cup as well. But we can’t drop our vigilance now, not before the last three games are over.
As I have been walking in and out of dignified hospitality suites, past strategically placed crowd-control vehicles (the sort designed after extensive R&D “in the old days”) at various world cup stadiums, I could not but be repeatedly impressed by the diligence of the organizers who have spared no effort in ensuring that every street peddler and hawker is dealt with swiftly, lest they compromise the purity of handing loads of money in exchange for sponsor-approved shit around the stadium, the ultimate experience of any global sporting event.
Ayoba to that, as they say, and see the ones of you with the right passport in Vienna!