Sunday, November 24, 2013

Goodbye / I'm "back"

Due to limited available project managers, I volunteered to serve temporarily as the new Freetown Sierra Leone construction manager to get the project started. I visited the site in May for the prebid meeting with prospective bidders, and since then the project was awarded, the preliminary contract documentation was completed, and we just held the preconstruction meeting to kick off construction. Exciting stuff!

This is a great opportunity to finally see what living at post is really like. After only being here a few days, I've met tons of people and learned a lot about the operation and maintenance challenges for an embassy. Let alone getting my first OBO construction project started, which is very cool.

Freetown is pretty mountainous, which leads to some great views around the city:
People tend to burn their trash; you might be able to see some smoke trails in this afternoon shot.

I'll be here for about a month so it will definitely be interesting. While typing this last bit in my hotel room, out from behind my laptop on the desk crawled a grasshopper/lizard/satan-spawn bug trying to kill me just now. I think I handled the situation quite well, having used a facecloth to pick it up and return it to the wilderness, hopefully without squeezing any babies onto the floor along the way. I'm going to go "sleep" now.

(This post written while listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival Run Through the Jungle.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Safety versus openness

Here's an interesting article about safety issues for diplomats and considerations affecting new embassy construction. It correctly represents the overarching influences of major events in current designs: the Inman report, Benghazi, and others. The issue of balancing safety versus creating open diplomatic environments requires challenging judgment calls on a wide variety of issues: infrastructure as well as operations. Those calls are generally above my pay grade - I'll stick to my tough decision about what tie to wear each day, thank you very much.

(This post written while listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket Fall Down.)