Fieldset
A 24/7 job - continued

By 9am I may be struggling to hold about 15 different things in my head at the same time. It’s a little like plate-spinning or cooking a 10-course dinner – run over there, check on that thing. Then go talk to that guy. Then send an email about something else. Update next week’s travel plan.

By 9am I may be struggling to hold about 15 different things in my head at the same time. It’s a little like plate-spinning or cooking a 10-course dinner – run over there, check on that thing. Then go talk to that guy. Then send an email about something else. Update next week’s travel plan. Then do a little of another thing. Then run back to the first thing and see if it’s gotten worse or better or has exploded in flames while I was away.

The generator at the hospital isn’t giving power? Do we know why? No. Emergency surgery in 15 minutes? OK, someone take the backup generator from the base over to the hospital. Talk to Richard about why the hospital generator has broken down again. Call Brazzaville to get a new backup generator.

They don’t have a generator they can spare. We have to get it from the other MSF project in Mindouli. When are we scheduled to connect with Mindouli? Next week is too late. Call Mindouli; reschedule it to this week. But if it’s moved to this week then we need to reschedule this driver, and that vehicle’s alternator just died.

Call Brazzaville HQ to find out when we can get a new alternator shipped. Call Mindouli back and reschedule for Thursday. They can’t do it on Thursday, they don’t have enough drivers that day. How about Friday?

Fine. It’s 9:30am. Deep breath, cup of coffee. Who’s next?

And so on. It can be tiring and frustrating, but also fun and exciting. Definitely beats sitting at a desk all day.