It’s 9:10am and our data assistant still hasn’t reported for duty. My database manager tried to call her mobile phone, but it’s not working. Just as I begin to worry, the door opens and she walks in with a bouquet of flowers.
“Happy Birthday Sandy!” That’s how you should walk in when you’re late.
I like having my birthday in the field. The field is an incubator for making fast friends, an instant family. Simple gifts are relished more than elaborate ones. This year my birthday coincided with my last monthly staff meeting. It was also the last one for two young women headed to the States on a scholarship. We celebrated with grilled meat (shashliek), ice cream, beer and soda. I suppose that’s a bit elaborate.
Next week is my last real working week. Sometime the following week my successor will arrive and I will spend my time handing over these duties to her. While I’m trying to finish as much as I can, I’m realizing there’s more to put on her plate. It’s a guilty feeling, one of not finishing what I started. But I suppose this is the nature of MSF. In the end, we are all standing on the shoulders of those who came before. I hope she gets a clearer perspective from up there.