...a very lovely city. I am here in Geneva for my briefing at the Swiss MSF office. This city is cute compared to Toronto... I think I am in Whooville from "how the Grinch stole Christmas". Speaking of WHO, I had dinner with a Canadian friend from the Would Health Organization (Amy). I was also found by a Human Rights NGO - Human Rights Watch (I was locked out of my building). So my briefing ended up being somewhat self-directed and intersectoral out side of the office. MSF has a dual mandate in advocacy/humanitarian rights issues based on medical or health findings.
In the MSF office, I learned plenty about my project. I will be working with a team of five expatriate staff - an MD, a field co coordinator, a midwife, and a logistician (engineer type of person). I will also be working with about 24 people from the community - nurses, guards, translators, etc. I finally made contact with the team via email... they sound like a reasonable friendly bunch.
A good nurse looks at illness outside of the medical context. As mentioned above, MSF captures what nursing by including the social and political context of people in need.
I love excitement. As much as I feel it is important to help those in need… my interest goes beyond helping. I consider myself very lucky, and I think we all have a lot to learn from those living in developing countries. Everyone likes to rescue, but rescuing is temporary and patronizing. All those involved from the patients receiving care, to the national MSF staff and those in political positions need to be included with provision of health.
WHERE AM I WORKING?
I will be working in Seleia. A community 100 km north of El Geneina consisting of about 5000 residents and 15000 internally displaced people. This community is only accessible by helicopter because of security implications. Thus, MSF is supporting the existing health clinic by addressing patient care needs related to population increase and lack of access to El Geniena.
Politically, the situation is very difficult to describe in a public blog. The MSF Charter includes statements of both neutrality and impartiality. Therefore I will not be differentiating between the supposed criminals and the victims. Anyone in need of medical aid is to be perceived as a human being before being regarding as any particular party.
WHY AM I BLOGGING?
From speaking to various communication officers, blogs like mine can create a significant security risk.In the passed humanitarian workers have been arrested in there attempts to speak out about various acts of violence and political controversy.In addition, I am also concerned about exploiting the population I work with by using their troubled lives for gross pictures, emotional reactions, and my hobby. The purpose of this blog is to put meaning to a challenging experience, to put a face to the MSF experience, provide an anecdotal perspective on living in troubled areas of the Sudan, and to communicate with people where only satellite communication exists.I want to speak about the small things in my daily life: the food, the bugs, daily if of community members.Furthermore, we all need reminders that the people of Sudan are people too… not just pictures on the news.Although it is disclaimed that this blog is an individual opinion; it still needs to represent the collective MSF image and vision.
So tomorrow I am off to Khartoum, Sudan. I hope to provide more contextual information from Khartoum, after I explore what is safe to share. Right now I a very sleepy and quite frankly “spun out”. I better do some reading.