The play is done; the curtain drops,
Slow falling to the prompter’s bell
A moment yet the actor stops
And looks around to say farewell.
It is an irksome word and task:
And when he’s laughed and said his say,
He shows, as he removes the mask,
A face that’s anything but gay.”……
It was 17th May 2010, I arrived in Port au prince, Haiti around 17 15 on a Thursday as the reporting delegate for Haiti Operation of IFRC. The interviews were done 3 weeks before my arrival and the contracting process was smooth and fast.
After working for IFRC Sri Lanka delegation in the Tsunami operation and the IFRC Asia Pacific Zone office in KL, this opportunity was one of the best I have had in my professional life, in order to work in the biggest humanitarian operation of the Federation under the leadership of well known Red Crossers.
I was welcomed by the welcome service, Admin dept and then by HR, introduced me to my new living space, Italian tent, (in the night I found out I m the only woman sleeping in that tent… and sadly all the men snored in the night…..) and got a good briefing on living arrangements and meal times.
The first morning, here I go to have a shower, of course brushing my teeth at the sinks, I meet with a person, wearing a towel, who introduces himself to me and then talks about the 8am meeting which was scheduled to be held that morning. When I went to the office, I understood that was the head of delegation at that time, in which other job will I have my introduction with the big boss while brushing teeth.
All this to say… that Haiti IFRC was a unique experience… I life changing mission……
Having worked for a French INGO in the Democratic Republic of Congo just before coming to Haiti, in difficult conditions, made me not to fear to come to Haiti , to live under a tent. In the contrary the first 6 months of this mission was more than luxury: a tarpaulin over the head as most of the IDPs do have in PaP, food on the plate: on given times, laundry done: on given days, week end trips planned: to given locations. What more can a humanitarian expect?
I survived the same living conditions for 16 months, ended the mission in July 2011…. More about the mission is at the moment being written in the form of a book… you will get to read soon… i hope so….
Thank you very much IFRC… for giving me this wonderful experience…
My Haiti mission started shortly after the earthquake with an Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of German Red Cross. Leaving cold Germany in January 2010, having a 24 hour stopover in Gander Newfoundland, we arrived in Haiti in a cargo plane at the just re opened airport of Port au Prince.
I completed a 4 weeks mission as a team leader of a medical team before my colleagues of the shelter cluster coordination hired me to support the initiative further.
I completed 3 missions as the Shelter Cluster Coordinator for IFRC in Haiti, 2 months each. This was a very unique experience in the extremely complex sector of Shelter. The coordinating efforts of the shelter cluster team of IFRC, with 12 experts, at the climax, were extremely appreciated by the shelter organizations.
In January 2011, I went back to Haiti for two good reasons. One was to coordinate the cholera response of the IFRC for the next 6 months. Allegedly one of the peace keeper of the Nepalese contingent in Haiti has unfortunately brought the bacteria to the country already destroyed by the earthquake, and this made Haiti qualify to a complex emergency situation. Nobody in the population of Haiti had any resistance against these cholera bacteria. It is likely that cholera will now be an often seen epidemic in Haiti during each rainy season.
More information will follow in the form of photos and links.
Links on Shelter Cluster:
Info clip on shelter cluster: http://youtu.be/29M1V6MfnEk