The Latest News from Paris and New York…about China

Howdy Folks!

When last I wrote, I let you all know that the possible China post with MSF was still up in the air. A big news flash came with a call on Wednesday from my HR Officer (HRO) at MSF, who had the following questions and information:

1) How does Paul feel about taking the training course for administration, finance and HR in French?
2) The other Chinese-speaker has definitely said no to the position (wants a non-admin spot), so there’s just me and one other person.
3) They need to put someone in the spot ASAP, and since the next English-language course isn’t until May, that’s too late.
4) Their plan is to get someone in the next French-language training, which begins Monday, February 28 in Paris, and when the course is done on March 10 to more or less immediately fly that person directly to China.

Naturally, I said yes. So, pending confirmation from the project desk in Paris (my HRO hopes to hear early next week), I currently expect I’ll be en route to France two weeks from today, for eleven days of intensive training in French (eek!), thereupon to leave more or less immediately for south China. I’ll be responsible for HR (national and international staff) and finance (including payroll) for two projects, one providing AIDS treatment in Nanning, and one providing medical care for street children in Baoji.

I would/will be based in Nanning, the capital of China’s southern Guangxi Province, which as you’ll see on the attached map (below) is quite close to Hanoi in fact. It’s also very close to Hong Kong, which is one of the main airline hubs for Asia…hint hint. So, once you’ve given me a few months to adjust and hit my stride, I do hope you’ll think about coming for a visit, or at least meeting me for a weekend in Hong Kong!

I’ve also posted a map of France below, since I’ll be training first in Paris, then in Bordeaux in southwest France. Bordeaux’s where it’ll get cool: it’s the site where MSF manages a huge on-airport warehouse from which they staged, for example, all the pallets of emergency relief supplies they sent out for the Tsunami-relief efforts. As you can imagine, being the operations geek that I am, I can’t WAIT to get see the operation in Bordeaux!

For those of you thinking “gee, this sounds like the good life, Paris & Bordeaux…” may I remind you that my last training days for MSF included 11- to 13-hour days of training. And that was in English. No, don’t pity me…but don’t envy me, at least not ’til you hear more. But do wish me luck.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to post commments here or to write me personally.

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