"be the change you wish to see"

13 November 2009

In Africa. After 3.5 months of holidays, re-grounding in Holland, spending time with family & friends and a thorough MSF pre-departure preparation, I am in Africa. Swapping the Russian snow for African hot sunny days. And swapping work in construction and start-up of a Liquified Natural Gas plant for keeping the operations running of an HIV/AIDS project. I miss Russia, I have to admit, but I am excited to finally be here in Zimbabwe, and to make my own personal contribution towards a better world. I feel satisfied with the contributions I was able to make so far, both in my professional and in my personal life. However, I feel strongly, that at least for a little while, I need to live and feel the impact of what I do -even if only small- on a daily basis. I hope I will find in this work & life what I am looking for...

The project I will be working on is an HIV/AIDS project located in Epworth, a suburb at the outskirts of Harare. I will work with the logistics team to keep the operations running: Basically it will be our task to ensure the medics can do their work. This means buildings need to be available and operated, water & power needs to be supplied reliably (!), communications need to work, waste needs to be treated, transport needs to be available and medicine need to be in stock at all times. Quite a job. But I am ready for the challenge and I am sure there will be lots of support!

Home for the coming year will be Harare, app. a 20min drive from the project site. We live in the house with seven: the expat team and one little boy, Leon. Five nationalities and a full mix of cultural and professional backgrounds. The house is great. The people are great. In the very short time I have been here my team-mates have made me feel very much at home already!

Hence so far so very good! However, I have not been at the HIV/AIDS clinic yet and I don't know whether it will feel hopeful -so many people now living a healthy life who without the support of MSF would not have  lived anymore- or sad -the project has reached its maximum capacity and people at times have to be turned away at the gate. Surely it will be a mixture. And surely I will write about this duality in our work in future blogs.

Thank you for reading this far. I really appreciate your interest in what my teammates and I try to do out here in Harare :-) Fenna