Friday, March 26, 2010

Funny story...unless you were part of it...

I would like to apologise to all those who might be reading this and are aware of this purely fictional incident and may not find it as amusing as I do. Any resemblance to characters living or dead is coincidental...although all of them lived, for the record.

Once upon a time I got a phone call from an NGO who had people involved in a security incident in which there were reports of heavy gunfire. Their field compound was smack in the middle of the action and their HQ located in a town - let's call it Luba - called me to see what can be done. Now, everyone knows that you shouldn't call me unless you want me to do something and, after more unsuccessful attempts on their part to get someone mobilised in the field area to go check on their compound, they gave me permission to do this.

Well, low and behold, we (note: change of pronouns not related to disseminating blame) managed to get the 'army' mobilised to go and check the area. Unfortunately, they found themselves without a vehicle. And any army without a vehicle is going to do what all self-respecting army would do which is go to another NGO, point a gun at them and demand their vehicle. Which is what they did. The other NGO did what any self-respecting NGO would do and refused to let guys with guns abscond with their vehicles. This meant that these staff were arrested.

All spiralling quickly out of control. Now two NGOs are in trouble.

But, at that very moment the comms from NGO 1 went back up and they could contact their HQ to say that they're fine although there was still fighting. About that time the SPLA rooked up in vehicle absconded with from NGO2. Recap: NGO1 safe; NGO2 now reporting stolen vehicle and staff detained in police station.

More intervention led to their release without actually endangering any other NGOs. A fact of which I'm very proud. But, the moral of the story is that sometimes you can't solve one security incident without creating another and that's just a fact of life...and not my fault.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Things I will never remember...

My brain is too small to chock it full of the miscellany that flies at me everyday. Hence, I would like to make a list of all the things that I refuse to remember:

1. When the rainy season begins and ends in Sudan.
2. People's names if I've met them only once or twice. Or, anyone who has a contract shorter than six months. Or anyone I find immemorable.
3. Anyone's birthday.
4. Any phone number.
5. Most meeting times.
6. Sphere standards humanitarian indicators.
7. Anything told to me before I've had enough coffee in the morning.
8. In what state Kwajok is located.
9. Where Nigeria is located.
10. On which border Pakistan neighbours Afghanistan.
11. The type of printer cartridge my printer takes.
12. How much wine costs at Logali.
13. The fiscal year of the U.S., Canada, UK, or any other donor country.
14. How to make excel spreadsheets do just about anything nifty.
15. Flight times.

One can simply not save the world and remember all the details. So, if i ask about any of these things and you say, 'don't you remember?' I will point you to this public blog entry and remind you that I don't.