My assignment in Swaziland is for six months and I have been offered the opportunity to extend.
After much thought and conversations with some good people, I’ve decided not to extend my time here in Swaziland. I made a commitment to myself to volunteer for at least a year, so my decision has been a surprise to some people.
Here are my thoughts… and it’s actually pretty simple… I am interested in gaining different experiences with MSF.
My assignment here was for six months and during this time I have gained exposure to a non-emergent, large, HIV/TB focused, stable mission.
Through this experience I have learned a lot about MSF, HIV/TB, challenges associated of working in a rural part of an underdeveloped country, the Ministry of Health/ Central Medical Stores, working in a completely different culture, and of course, I’ve learn a lot about myself.
There are so many other type of missions underway, I would like to see something different and learn more about the work of MSF… which will help me determine my longer-term plans.
So… what’s next? That is more difficult to answer.
The NYC office is my “contracting” office (there are about 25 across the world) and they have visibility into the open positions in the five “Operational Centers” for MSF.
Operational Centers are the offices that actually run the missions and there are five (Geneva, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam). I am currently working on a mission run by OCG (Operational Center Geneva) but I can do a mission with any OC. Each OC works slightly differently, has a different culture, and may not focus on the same types of missions (all do emergency missions, but not all do HIV).
So NYC is looking through the postings to find a non-first mission (YAY!), English speaking Pharmacist position.
Since many missions are French speaking I am wondering if this is the time to buck up and learn French. Perhaps MSF will send me to an intensive French course and put me in a French-speaking mission.
Should I give it a try? I can imagine that it would be frustrating at first but there is no better way to learn French and expand my horizons… stay tuned!!