I spent the most amazing 9.5 months in the most fascinating place, little Tari. I witnessed how hot-tempered people here can be, I saw warriors, I saw people injure each other with bush knives, I saw mothers beating their children, I saw limbs being cut off, I saw extreme emotional suffering, I saw people die. But I also experienced the warmth and love that the local people generously share every day, despite all the violence, paradoxically to it.
I have seen how people help each other, protect each other, laugh and joke together even in times of struggle. “How can such kind, warm-hearted people be so violent to each other?” I have always wondered, and still do. The emotional turmoil in Tari is exceptional, probably more so than anywhere else.
And in the middle of this was I. When working for MSF in the field, you cannot observe things from a distance. You cannot leave yourself emotionally on the outside. You must go in to it with your whole being, take a deep dive into the culture, understand people’s history, and listen to their stories. For me in Tari this has meant crying in my room at night from exhaustion and frustration. It has meant feeling anger and rage over witnessed injustice and it has meant laughing my heart out with joy with my wonderful local friends. This little, complex, ignored place on the other side of the world has forever changed my life, and I will carry the memory of it with me for as long as I live.
Thank you Tari.