Shame and Aid Work

This is a story a bit like mine from Chad, though we were not faced with bandits/rebels/soldiers directly. The feelings of shame and regret she has are related to the complicated feelings I had on leaving Chad as well. In my case, we had nothing to be ashamed of — we took good care of…

NSA is Spying on MSF

Here’s a story that’s, unfortunately, not a surprise: KINNE: And over the course of my time, as we slowly began to identify phone numbers and who belonged to what, one thing that gave me grave concern was that as we identified phone numbers, we started to find more and more and more numbers that belonged…

Same conversation, different venue

The dirty secret of aid work… it always comes down to this… the navel-gazing, “why am I here”, “why is it so ineffective” conversation. Usually it happens around the campfire, over a bottle of locally made beer, or perhaps for the lucky coordination team in the capital city, at the nearby expat-only restaurant over a…

Morning Coffee Notes

With apologies to Dave for the title… This morning I see that Jon over at AidWorkerDaily.com has added his ideas to my article there, and asked me to comment. I did, go read it. While I was researching stuff for my reply, I stumbled across these resources on African IT that I’m going to start…

Crowd control in Ethiopia

My major job in Ethiopia this summer was crowd control. As a log, I am responsible for setting up the facilities where we work — a little bit of pioneering merit badge, architecture, and a whole lot of crowd control. Here are two pictures from MSF’s interventions in Ethiopia that give you an idea of…

Very Happy New Year News

Hello everybody, and happy new years. 2008 is going to be really great for me, I have some news to share here to get all those who are interested in my travels back up to date with my life and my plans. First, the most important thing in my whole life… I’ve finally found the…

Hello from Belgium

Hello again after a long time away from writing. Since I wrote last, I took a nice trip around the west coast, then hung around California doing some IT work. Then I moved to Lausanne, Switzerland where I studied French for two months for 4.5 hours a day. I also enjoyed riding my bike a…

A Look at Field Life for Tool Makers

I have recently been talking with some folks about IT tools for humanitarian aid workers. I gave a real-world reality check to them, not to discourage them, but to make sure they knew their audience as well as possible. After all, what good is a tool that looks good in demos, but fails with the…