By Genny Ndayisenga

Kampala, Uganda- Tuesday 14th of May-The first regional meeting to prepare the GPS took place on Tuesday May 14, 2013 at Serene Hotel in Kikoni. Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda attending the GPS as a team were all represented at the meeting.

The delegations from Burundi and Rwanda arrived Sunday night not only to take part in this meeting, but also for the process of visa applications for the trip to Turkey. There is no Turkish embassy neither in Burundi nor in Rwanda. We then took the road to Kampala -16 hours road trip – and at the arrival we were all exhausted. But as far as I’m concerned, I was not worried about tiredness. I couldn’t wait to see the great commercial city Kampala. The city is too noisy with a high traffic of cars and motorcycles that run at full speed without worrying about accidents that could happen. In short it is a very hectic city!

The country mapping exercise was mainly discussed during this meeting in Kampala

The country mapping exercise was mainly discussed during this meeting in Kampala

The next day, Aaron (350 organiser and part of the Uganda GPS team) led us to the Turkish Embassy to submit our visa applications. There we were told to come back next Monday for the answer. But in the meantime, we kept preparing to meet other Ugandan participants at the GPS because apart from Aaron, who’s now serving as an escort and guardian angel to us, we don’t know the rest of team members.

The meeting was held at the hotel where we got off Valentine and I. Landry and Richard, who lodge with Aaron, were the first to arrive at the place of the rendez-vous, and we expected others to arrive soon. The agenda was announced and each participant gave the status of GPS preparations in their countries. The country -mapping exercise was at the top of the discussions. Will we have enough time to gather all the information required? How are we going to proceed? Can both regional and national country mapping be done at the same? Isn’t mapping the climatic state of a country a very scientific work? These are the questions and concerns that were flying by and across the conference table. But Landry reassures: “It is the methodology that you will use and how you will involve other partners and engage in the task that will determine all. If you get the best methodology I’m sure you’ll make it on time!” And there is no doubt, we will! Full commitment and willingness could be read on all faces. Then the dice is cast! Each participant promised to directly get started with the country mapping exercise by the moment I’m write this blog post, one participant told me that he has already started and is progressing very well. Very encouraging!

At the end of the meeting, we enjoyed a little to share and discuss about various points and mostly the Do the Math Screening to be held on Thursday 16. And from what I heard from the organizers here, this will be a great success! By then I can’t wait to see this event happening and be back to you soon with some great news!