The long and short of this blog post is that in July I’m going to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for 9 months.
Much better-known than Burkina Faso, but here’s a map anyway (mostly because I don’t have any other pictures for this blog).
The next reasonable questions are “what?”, “why?”, and “how did that happen?”, not necessarily in that order, and so I shall explain.
My main motivation for leaving my job was to eventually work for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as a midwife. I didn’t talk or write about it much for a few reasons: it’s a difficult organisation to get into, I wasn’t sure I’d succeed, and to me it sounded ridiculous that I’d give up my job on the off-chance. But I did, and it paid off. Two weeks ago I had an interview in London, which was actually rather a pleasant experience. Given the gruelling application process up to that point, I expected the worst, visions of someone holding a gun to my head just to see how I’d cope. But they didn’t and I’m grateful. In fact it was a normal interview, and they liked me, and a week later I was offered a post in DRC.
I’ll be starting in July, and I’ll be managing midwifery and outreach for a region with four clinics and one referral unit, totalling 10,000 births per year. There are also clinics for sex workers and victims of sexual violence, plus clinics for women suffering from malaria, malnourisment, TB, HIV, on top of the usual ante/post-natal clinics. From what I’ve been told I’ll be in charge of monitoring and evaluating and implementing midwifery programmes, training staff, managing medicines, liaising with other disciplines and local authorities, and a whole host of other things including being on call for complicated births. Bricking it? You bet.
But. My theory is that if MSF think I can do it, then I can. There’s a good reason I’ve wanted to work for this organisation for most of my career: they provide hope and aid to anyone in need, no matter who they are, and they do it properly. No cutting corners, no substandard care. So if they think I have what it takes, I just need to dig deep and find it. And practise my French. Always that.
Disclaimer: opinions and views in this blog are my own, and not those of MSF.
Afterword: I will unfortunately still need to earn money to eat between now and July. So if anyone is in need of a Sheffield-based tutor (Maths or Biology) or has any other odd jobs or suggestions, I would love to hear from you!