First lesson learned: better charge camera battery before departing on a 29 hour voyage! I wish I could show you pictures from the magnificently chaotic and gorgeous scene of much of an entire plane of Colloquium participants disembarking in the dark; beautiful young singers & drummers greeting us, small handwritten welcome signs; drinks & snacks; & a group of powerful women organizers – all of us – asking each other “do you know what we do? Where we stay? How we get our bags?” Women from Kosovo trying to help women from Tokyo, women from Zambia hugging their friends from the US, women from Ghana sitting with women from Vietnam, Benin and Nepal.

I am brought back to 1985 Nairobi End of the Women’s Decade when we all arrived tired, not knowing exactly what to expect but being thrilled to be with each other. And, given that we are in a post-conflict country reclaiming itself under a new democracy, the excitement & joy is even greater, as is the confusion.  But, so many beautiful Liberian women and men walking around giving us gifts determined to welcome & calm us. As in Nairobi, where I thought I had my own room reserved and ended up bunking with my friend Nancy Rubin & two new friends from India, I think it may be many hours before we are all settled somewhere.  But, then in no time in Nairobi we came together gathered in conference rooms & on circles under the trees outside the halls. And by the end Kathy Bonk, Donna Brazile and I were organizing the closing unity event with 18,000 NGO delegates & government representatives.

A South Korean woman just said to me, “Have you heard? Hillary is coming!” On a 1st name basis in this crowd, our new US Secretary of State. And someone else is shouting, “Excuse me has anyone seen the Honorable Prime Minister from (I couldn’t hear the country, as the drums just got louder). So, the adventure begins…

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