The team I joined will not be the team I leave. The composition of the expat team is constantly changing as the contracts of volunteers begin and end in a staggered fashion. This is good and bad. It allows for continuity in the project, transfer of knowledge between team members and variety. But it also means that we often find ourselves saying good-bye, sometimes to people we have come to cherish. The expat team lives and works together and the interaction can be very intense. We become more or less like a family, sometimes a happy, efficient family and sometimes a miserable, dysfunctional family. This is one of the great challenges of working for MSF, how the team works can ‘make or break’ your mission and how it works is both within and outside your control.
I have already said good-bye to more than half of the original ex-pat team. The Good-byes can be tough, the conversation populated with Maybe I will see you on another mission, Let’s get together in Toronto, I will see you in Amsterdam, etc. And perhaps you will, but it will never be the same.