Thursday, August 19, 2010

World Humanitarian Day

My body is quite happily in the routine of waking up at 9am. I enjoy a nice hot shower, with no shortage of nice products, and my hair doesn't change colour or fall out from the bad water quality. I quite happily pad into the kitchen and pour myself some cereal with nice fresh milk, or make myself some toast with bread that hasn't been drenched with sugar. This morning I put my sheets in the washing machine, a machine that fills up automatically and rinses and spins automatically as well. I sat down at my laptop, connected through wifi to a pretty fast internet connection and didn't have to worry about the power going out. And I thought how much the little comforts of home mean to an aid worker. Forget about the big ticket things like a functioning state or the assurance of basic human rights, I'm talking about the little things you don't even notice until your hair is falling out, you haven't eaten sqaure bread in months, and your back is sore from hauling water into the washing machine and rinsing everything by hand. And you're doing all of this with an armed guard outside in the courtyard.

Today is World Humanitarian Day, and I think about my colleagues around the world who are missing out on the comforts of home. They're doing it tough in Pakistan, in Haiti, in Niger, in Gaza and so many other countries around the world that are suffering the effects of natural disasters or conflict, or both. I think of those colleagues who are nationals of affected countries, who still come to work every day even though they might have lost family members or their home. I think of these colleagues who have chosen to forgo the comforts of home to use their skills to contribute towards a better future. I think about those colleagues that have lost their lives in the pursuit of such a future, and am thankful that there is a day to recognise them.

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