A comment posted to one of my entries asked why I choose MSF and what brought me to where I am now. Its not the first time I’ve been asked this question and, in reality, it’s a fair question. I left behind a pretty comfortable life. Good job, amazing girl, hot showers. My brother had a baby and I became an uncle for the first time. My sister is building a new house a mile from where we grew up. Wedding planning and ring shopping are all going on without me. These are just some of the things that I’ve left behind for MSF.
Essentially, because I can. I have a family that supports me and a fiancée who truly believes in me in this environment. I have the unusual combination of technical ability, personal drive, flexibility and compassion that make me good at it. I am blessed to have come from a family, a country and overall circumstances that allowed me to follow a dream instead of struggle to survive.
I also like the adventure and relish the opportunity to learn on so many levels (about management, cultures, geo-political issues, myself, the world of relief work). Finally, while I had done some reading on development and relief, I truly believe that the best way to learn is simply to GO. With my skill set, personality, support and a strong desire to help those who are truly in need, the question really became how could I not…
There are 2 events that really specifically helped to shape this desire.
The first was watching the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. All the news channels were reporting that relief workers were walking for hours – sometimes days – to bring urgently needed supplies and medical care to remote villages. The needs were great, the challenges were enormous and I thought to myself, “I can do that…I can totally do that!”
The second was reading “Another Day in Paradise” by Carol Bergman (2003). This is a book of short stories about humanitarians working in the field on a variety of projects from disaster relief to war zones to feeding centers. I read the book twice and still remember feeling totally inspired by what these people were actually doing.
I had been a donor to MSF for a few years and the more I learned about the organization, the more I came to admire what they did and where they worked and how they did it. I was simply fascinated by ‘these people’ who were doing such great things in remote corners of the world largely forgotten by our western media.
…and here I am. Helping those truly in need, directly supporting a great organization and absolutely living a dream.