Tomorrow, August 19th, is World Humanitarian Day, established to give special recognition to all humanitarian and UN personnel who work to further the humanitarian cause and to remember those who have lost their lives in the line of their work.
This is especially poignant given the recent ambush of the group of 10 doctors, medical staff and drivers from America, the UK, Germany, and Afghanistan who died bringing much needed medical services to people in rural Afghanistan. As I have written about before this is not the first time something like this has happened, and unfortunately it would be naive to think it will be the last. May their souls rest in peace and may their families be comforted in the fact that they died doing something they loved and believed it.
Yes, I know I have a bit in my About section about being labeled a humanitarian/aid/charity worker, and don’t even get me started on the UN, but lots of deserving credit is due to the folks who work day in and day out, often putting their lives on the line (or at least their health and sanity) for working towards what they believe in.
Dealing with mind-numbing number crunching, bureaucracy, disease, terrorism, war, low pay, accidents on bad roads, and isolation from time away from family and friends is not an easy thing to do, and while we can rail on against the inefficiency and hypocrisy in the aid industry I at least am still grateful that there are people out there who are still willing to give it a go.
In Southern Sudan I never had to deal with wearing flak jackets, armed bodyguards or fear being shot at or in any way targeted because of my status as a foreigner. In fact, it was the opposite, we basically had a “get out of jail free” card in most situations. Yet there are thousands of people who go to places knowing this is what they will face, and go willingly. I have several friends based in Afghanistan at the moment, in addition to the one that just left a few days ago and another set to arrive next week. I think about them all the time and pray that they stay safe.
So here’s to all of you! Thank you for doing what you do.
P.S. check out a friend of mine formerly of Juba now based in Afghanistan at minute 0:54 – 0:59 and 3:40 – 3:43!