When I arrived here the head of mission said to me that every first timer "hits a wall" near the sixth week of their posting. I'm not sure if it was a premonition or a curse, but I arrived at the wall on Thursday.It is the "what the heck am I doing here wall?" It's the "what was I thinking when I applied for MSF in the first place and even more so, what were they thinking when they hired me?" I can't remember what possessed me to leave my family and friends and get on a plane to Africa. I wonder who had control of my right hand when I signed a contract to live in Kilwa for a year. I am unsure of myself and my confidence and my conviction appear to be on vacation. Maybe they are in Zanzibar sipping margaritas on a beach. I feel like this out of frustration and because the way to move forward is unclear to me. But I am in Africa and I did sign a contract for one year and I know that despite the frustration and the "wall" that this is exactly where I want to be. And so I take a deep breath, I take a hot shower, which my friend, the midwife, has so generously prepared for me (hot shower = boiled water with a bucket and a cup), and I feel human again, like myself. And I realize that it is a lot easier to get over a wall when you have a helping hand pulling you up and over to the other side. And this, I remember, is exactly what possessed me to leave my family and friends and get on a plane to Africa. It is so that I can put out my hand and pull someone up and over the other side of their wall. This is MSF. Thank you for all the helping hands.
© Tristan Pfund