Against the Flow

Being a humanitarian often means going against the flow. When everyone is trying to get out of a place affected by a natural disaster, conflict or pandemic – then we humanitarians work on getting ourselves in. Tomorrow I will be flying into Liberia, the country worst hit by the Ebola outbreak. But what is it that makes someone like me want to go to a place that poses a risk of getting infected by a dangerous disease like Ebola?

It is the same thing that makes me and my colleagues in the humanitarian community go into an earthquake area, even when we know there can be severe aftershocks. It is the same thing that makes us go into areas of conflict. It is knowing that there are people in dire need, people you can help through your role or expertise. It is knowing that in order to help those in the biggest need, some of us must make sacrifices and take risks.

Of course we take risks, but for us those are most often risks we understand. It is risks we can do our best to mitigate. We train, we practice, we become informed. We prepare ourselves and we prepare our families. We bring and use personal protective equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for each of the crisis we face.

Over the next ten days, during my deployment to Liberia, I hope to give you all an insight into the work I will be doing and try to give you an understanding of why we humanitarians are willing to go against the flow in order to help those in need of assistance.

Published October 9th 2014 at LinkedIn