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Filling in my MSF application / ebola

Completed most of my online application to volunteer for MSF tonight.

They asked details about work and qualifications but also about travel experience. Was weird. Never had a job application which brought in so much of my life. Where the me that loves to travel is a plus that makes me *better* suited for the job, rather than something I need to try to disguise or minimise. I even felt safe talking about my activism where it asked for details about “experience in organising”[0] Felt like my life up til now has given me the perfect CV for the job, for once!

Randomly started doing the MSF application whilst with my family and they were all watching telly earlier. Just went onto the website to look again, and thought well I’ll start and see what they ask, and ended up finishing everything apart from my “motivations” – but that’ll be relatively easy as, again for once, it’ll be coming from the heart instead of the usual bullshit you need to come up with when a potential employer asks you why you want to work there!

Talked with my family about going too; my mum is pretty worried. I think I was able to give her some reassurance. Though its all a bit moot. Yes, I am going into a more dangerous situation than if I was nursing in UK. I get she’s scared, as are my main squeeze and my best friend. I mean they did (mum and best friend) go through shit when I was in Gaza and Rachel and Tom were killed. That must have been hard and scary for them.

But it’s like, how much more hard and scary is it for those living in Sierra Leone, with their families there?

I’m only going for 5 weeks! Almost certainly I’ll survive. Folks there are dying! Civil society is breaking down and that’s negatively affecting every aspect of life, from childbirth to schooling to growing food. Not to mention human rights.

It doesn’t feel right for someone with my skills and knowledge and experience (and lack of commitments etc) to not go!

I feel excited and a bit scared now, though now about going. I feel scared because I feel on the brink of a really important stage in my life. I feel like there’s a mark that I’ve spent years preparing for, and its almost time to step up to it.

I know it probably sounds silly, but it felt unreal to be writing in my travel history into where it asked for that in the application form, and realise how well suited my life experience til now is for the role. Feels like I’ve been accidentally preparing myself for this incredible opportunity and challenge. My life up til now sort of slotting into place.

I was initially only applying to go help with ebola, but that’s partly because in my mind I didn’t think MSF would take me as I don’t have the nursing specialties that they state they prefer. But maybe I could go with them in the future too. In general though I hate being a part of an organisation with human resources and management. I like being a solo agent. But MSF are awesome, though not perfect. And going out on a placement with MSF eg next year doesn’t preclude me also going alone to other places in future – in fact it would make the latter better as I’d have more skills and experiences. And maybe I’ll love it and that’ll be me… but 9 months for each mission sounds a bit much for me though. I’d always thought I would spend at least half of every year in Glasgow/UK and keep connected to people and communities and activism here. Just doesn’t sound as longterm sustainable as my current plan of going away every year, November-April.

I’m glad I’ve started blogging about it now. It will be interesting to read back in the future, wherever I end up. I’ve started a new category on here ebola and my intention is to keep using that as my journey unfolds. Because I tend to write about whatever I’m thinking about at the time, and still planning on returning to India before I go help with ebola, though now thinking I’ll go from straight after my course ends, and just stay for 3 weeks. Can’t imagine that will make much difference to my ability to contribute in West Africa, but will still give me a holiday and to reconnect with people and places in India first. And get used to being in a hot climate again.


[0] In case you’re interested I wrote :

Community organiser – have helped run tenants and residents groups, LGBTq events, social centres and a solidarity network.
Anticuts and antiwar campaigning – have organised speaking tours, meetings, demonstrations etc.
All have included building and maintaining social media presence.

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