Tuesday, March 27, 2007


So, I did an interview for an British, political, internet TV show and learned a few things. The first being that seeing yourself on camera is never a fun experience. I sat there watching in disbelief trying to come to grips with the fact that 1) I actually look like that and 2) I actually sound like that. Yes, I should have been concentrating on the substance of the interview and whether the questions were diplomatically answered but find myself, vainly, wondering how I did the whole interview without noticing that my necklace was twisted and why I use so many adverbs.

Apparently, though, my friends and family are like-minded. Here are a few comments I've received:

from a friend: 'nice hair.'

from my sister: 'Very nice. Very non-implicative. You could be on Meet the Press.You should have answered money for the last question. That would have been so awesome.'

from another friend: 'Synonyms for 'essentially': approximately, in effect, practically, relatively, roughly, substantially, virtually.'

If you are interested in hearing me say practically, effectively, relatively, virtually nothing of substance you can watch the entire interview here:


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I can't decide...

Last night we had some people around for dinner and were listening to some music when my administrator pipes up and says, 'hey, this song reminds me of you.'

'Really?' I say 'Who sings it? Why does it remind you of me?'

'Well,' she says. 'I could just imagine you saying the chorus. Wait for the chorus - it's the type of thing you'd say.'

The song continues. It's 'I can't decide' by the Scissor Sisters.

We come to the chorus...

I can't decide
Whether you should live or die
Oh, you'll probably go to heaven
Please don't hang your head and cry
No wonder why...

Oh I could throw you in the lake
Or feed you poisoned birthday cake
I wont deny I'm gonna miss you when you're gone
Oh I could bury you alive
But you might crawl out with a knife
And kill me when I'm sleeping
That's why

I can't decide
Whether you should live or die
Oh, you'll probably go to heaven
Please don't hang your head and cry
No wonder why
My heart feels dead inside
It's cold and hard and petrified
Lock the doors and close the blinds
We're going for a ride
I can't decide whether to take it as a compliment to my management style or not.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Pep talk...

My boss is not known for his motivational talks. However, he outdid himself yesterday with this little chat:

Him: Did you talk to UNICEF about the tents for the extension of the stabilization centre in the hospital like we discussed?

Me: No.

Him: Well, as long as you know that starving children are suffering due to your incompetence and you're ok with that, and you can sleep at night, then there's no problem.

Me: Thanks for that. You should write motivational cards for Hallmark.

Him: Thanks.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Every Day...

War is no longer declared,
but rather continued. The outrageous
has become the everyday. The hero
is absent from the battle. the weak
are moved into the firing zone.
The uniform of the day is patience,
the order of merit is the wretched star
of hope over the heart.

It is awarded
when nothing more happens,
when the bombardment is silenced,
when the enemy has become invisible
and the shadow of eternal weapons
covers the sky.

It is awarded
for deserting the flag,
for bravery before a friend,
for the betrayal of shameful secrets
and the disregard
of every command

Ingeborg Bachmann

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Well put...

Dr. Jill John Kall is one of my best friends here, and a generally amazing woman. She is the medical coordinator for IMC and recently wrote an article about Darfur. Here is a tidbit:

"Hope is defined as a feeling that events will turn out for the best. I sometimes wonder if hope will ever return to Darfur. I caught a glimpse of it last year from about February to May 2006. Of course, once the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed, it ironically seemed to signal the end of hope. Since then, the security situation in Darfur has worsened steadily and shows no signs of improving…

Since my return to Darfur in early January, the one question on the minds of every NGO and UN agency is “What is our threshold?” At what point do we say enough is enough and pull out?...Today, I visited Al Salaam camp… It was then that I realized why we aid workers stay on: we continue because the conflict continues, we continue because we cannot turn a blind eye to the escalating violence, we continue to give a voice to those who have none, we continue because even on the worst of days, we need to believe that it can get better, and we continue because of the slightest glimmer of hope in our patients eyes. We continue because there is no one else."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My plans...

So, decided yesterday that I need a plan for my life. Well, who are we kidding? I need a plan for the next six months. Mostly, because my boss is going to fly in tomorrow and ask me some hard questions about jobs I want and I would just like to have public accountability that I will not extend again. So, here's the plan (mom, listen up):

Finish contract by end of May. Do not extend any more! Do not extend, do not extend...that's my mantra.
Go to London and faff around until mid-June.
Go to Italy for a week or more with friends.
Go back to London and perhaps do more faffing.
Go to the U.S. and visit all the people who think I've fallen off the face of the earth. Including, but not limited to: Cape Cod, Missouri, San Diego, Alaska?, Idaho?, DC.
Hope that the UN has offered me some brilliant job back in Darfur.
Return here in August.

I know what they say about the 'best laid plans' but I'm going to attempt to see this one through.