Not from the deck of a fishing boat in barely fishable weather either. How romantic is the life of an NGO humanitarian? It’s probably very little like you imagine it to be.
Commenting on the Ecuadorian town Peace Corps sent him to in 1966.
“I yelled….”There’s my town.” But it didn’t look romantic even then; the truth is that nothing looks romantic from a Banana truck.” (Living Poor. A Peace Corps Chronicle. Moritz Thomsen. Pg 28)
Today I am twenty nine kilometers at sea where we were catching some fish. However, there is little to be found right now. So, I’m sitting here watching my fish-finder and a few bluefin Tuna fisherman hoping to hook a high priced big one.
But, to be honest, my mind is not really in the fishing game today. I find myself counting down the days to my return to Mali, I can’t wait to get back. At this stage of the game, every day involves prep work of some kind for Mali. Making and packaging ready to go family irrigation garden kits, packing those in crates along with water filters for our purified water project so we can keep some kids better fed, healthy, and alive. Then the mundane things like applying for entry visas, international drivers licenses, and medical insurance. There are so many little things every day. The list is long. But I don’t mind at all.
But, right now, I’m at sea, and my mind is really in Africa. A very torn life at times. This living and working in two places may sound ideal, but it’s difficult on the heart shifting back and forth between two amazing yet radically different experiences. Changing gears, especially into the coming home gear, is hard on the head.
I always said that the purpose of my commercial fishing operation is to help support my Africa addiction, and that fishing is the perfect screening program for humanitarian NGOs. If you can take the hammering, wild, wet, very early morning, and hard work of the sea, the most secluded and hidden regions in Africa are a picnic for you after that.
Life may not look the best from the back of a banana truck, or from the deck of a fishing boat far at sea. However, my life grants me unique experiences and opportunities that few share, on either side of the Atlantic ocean. What I get to see, hear, touch, and experience on the average day, both in Mali and in Canada, would make a national geographic photo shoot. But no one is that interested in the invisible humanitarians turf.
Back to fishing, need to support my Africa habit, or is it an addiction?
- Sun Dried Skulls & Jaw Bones Remind Us That The Sahara Desert Will Kick Your Ass! (theinvisiblehumanitarian.com)
- Linguistically Humbled Humanitarians – A Bambara Language Study Day (theinvisiblehumanitarian.com)