["You know I think I am really privileged to do this kind of work, I would even do it for free like Bono."]
Tuesday October 5th
9:45pm: I spent most of the day getting briefed by Laurent and Christian. Laurent gave me a good rundown of the country and what has been happening. It is a pretty complex history in Sierra Leone and me and Laurent spent 5 hours discussing the history and problems of the country. Sierra Leone had a really nasty war for about 10 years. I was surprised to learn that it was over. I thought Hope only worked in war torn countries. The Revolutionary United Front caused a lot of problems and did really bad things. There leader was this guy called Charles Taylor and now the Americans want to try him for war crimes just like Sadam Hussein. There have been elections and so far so good for this struggling democracy. Hope has been here since 1997 and has done heaps of life saving programmes. Laurent said the job is not over yet, there is still much more that can be done to get the Sierra Leoneans back on their feet. Laurent said Sierra Leone needs a bit of Hope, as he gave a smile and a wink. I think its a good play on words and pretty true as well.
Laurent also explained to me the difference between French and Anglo-Saxon Non Governmental Organizations. It was really interesting and I am glad I am working for a French organization since they are more Humanitarian and Anglo-Saxons tend to have short meetings and aren't as spontaneous. I was wondering what my race was.
Laurent has been here for a year, he hasn't been to Rouks for a while, where my project is, but that is because everything runs really smoothly in Rouks for Hope. He plans to visit in the next few months. He's a pretty busy guy and always has a lot of meeting to attend as well as the embassy functions and other Relief agency parties where you can gather a lot of interesting information on what's going on in the country (especially security information). Laurent didn't say too much about my project but said you will get a good handover from Claude in the field and his report is quite detailed and will give you a lot of information on the context in Rouks and the aims of the project.
In the afternoon, me and Christian went through some of the procedures like using the radio's and the satellite phone which are really vital for communication and security. In fact we spent the whole afternoon doing this. Christian said that Claude had revised my Job description. He didn't have a copy handy, but Claude will explain it to me in the field.
I am off to Rouks tomorrow. It will be great to get to Rouks and start work. Its been nice hanging around in the capital the last few days. Going for a swim after work at the beach, the bars and clubs are really good fun as well. When I have had a bit of quiet time its been nice to watch the satellite TV and some videos. All the comforts of home and some. All this is not really me, I know that my place is in the field with the people and understanding their struggles. Just giving it a go and getting stuck in to solve some of their problems and make their lives a bit better. Letting them know someone cares. You know I think I am really privileged to do this kind of work, I would even do it for free like Bono. I will talk to you tomorrow and let you know how my first day in the field was.
Dave (me) Claudia