My life has become one big chaos again, as usual.
Due to an unexpected change in my personal life, I did not go to Sri Lanka, but I went for holidays to Belgium instead. It was nice to catch up with family and friends, I went sailing for a few days and ended up at the wedding of a university friend in the Ardennes that I could otherwise never have attended. Unexpectedly, however, I encountered visa troubles, and I could not return to Pakistan immediately after my vacation.
After waiting for my visa several weeks, and realizing it could take many more weeks, I decided to visit an MSF friend in Rabat, Morocco. While my friend was taking French classes, I did some remote work behind my laptop.
Writing the monthly medical report, trying to predict the medicine consumption for the four-monthly order, reviewing the MSF paediatric fluid policy... I was able to do more from this 9000 km distance than I thought I would. And then some nice morning walks in the old Medina, tajines every day and evening strolls along the beautiful beach cemetery of Rabat. There are worse places to do some remote work.
It was also nice and interesting to see Morocco in my 'prolonged holiday': an Islamic country as well, but so blatantly different from Pakistan. Women are not always covered up and walk around freely without a male ‘attendant’, you see Western people here and there, most locals speak English or French… Quite a shock when you`ve just come back from Quetta.
The sixth week of my obligatory distance work has started now. After this week I will have been away from Pakistan for over a month. I am sure I will be able to do some more administrative work and prepare some trainings, but it does not feel right not to be in 'my project'.
Remote hospital management (and more remote than from Belgium to Pakistan is hardly possible) is really difficult.
Our lovely international nurse sends me some questions almost every day, and I try to do the best I can to help her out, but it is not the same. I want to be back. Doing rounds, being there to guide and teach our local doctors (who are mostly really motivated, but also young and not very experienced in paediatrics), strolling around in the always busy hospital during the night to detect problems...
That's why I am in the Pakistan mission, not to be a distant manager. Fingers crossed for my visa! Take me back! Now!