Typologies and transits

Missionary, mercenary or misfit: the three categories of aid workers’ motivations, so the joke goes.

Glancing back a few pages in my diary I noticed a scribble which maybe answers it for me. Written at two in the morning while hung-over, drunk and exhausted in the crap ‘Irish’ bar in Dubai airport after several hours waiting and chatting with various transiting strangers: “Aid work finally paid off: two free drinks.”

God I hate Dubai and its four and a half billion dollar new shopping centre (with airport attached). What could be done with that money in Afghanistan? Doesn’t bare thinking about. Probably doesn’t help that I’m always sleep-deprived whenever passing through there, walking around in a daze muttering to myself, but still.

It was at least the gateway to a wonderful break, from which I have recently returned. The better the holiday, the harder it is to come back, but it’s been good to catch up with friends back in Kabul, discover that my department hasn’t collapsed without me, and generally get back into the swing of things.

There have been various tasks that I’ve putting off till winter, expecting it to be a quieter time with some of our programme areas snowed closed. So I now have a long list of things to do and am as busy as ever just trying to decide where to start. Time to start planning the next holiday.


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2 Responses to “Typologies and transits”

  1. transitionland Says:

    Ok, I get mercenary and missionary, but what is a misfit aidworker’s motivation? Escaping scandal at home?

  2. harryrud Says:

    Escaping something. The question ‘what are you trying to escape’ was, I vaguely remember being told, once a standard question in interviews for a certain humanitarian organisation. Seems a bit daft but hey.

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