Well, so much going on around here!
I’m still pretty tired and grumpy at the moment, so not much has changed there.
Life in the UN hub is interesting….
Last weekend we got invited to a UN party, which I get VERY excited about (my first official aid worker party since I got here). Was all excited, and even borrowed some make-up from a colleague on the off-chance that there might be lots of young hot things there. Sadly I was extremely disappointed. We arrived at the “party” which was about 6 or 7 guys, plus a couple of girls, sitting around very quietly outside under a really bright fluorescent light. They were all middle-aged, mostly leathery Norweigians, plus a mildly sleazy frenchman attempting to be suave.
The Norweigians are running the UN camp here, so they mostly spend their days wandering around topless twiddling with the giant industrial generators and batteries, managing the water system that feeds the camp, and whizzing about on mini-diggers and JCB-type things moving gravel around.
The showers, loos and sinks etc are all fairly nice, but quite public – just tents in the middle of the compound, and the sinks are out in the open, so it’s rather disconcerting that I keep seeing senior people from FAO, UNDP, WFP, OCHA and other UN bodies standing topless in front of the mirror shaving. Makes it hard not to look at them differently in the cluster meetings!
The shower tents – plenty of senior UN staff have now officially seen me lurking around the camp waiting for a shower in my pajamas….
The sinks and mirrors – where everyone shaves and brushes their teeth….
There’s some awesome names here too – I met an awesome Belgian guy called Stijn (pronounced Stain) and a Croatian guy called Dragon! He’s a big, grey-haired bear of a man, so luckily he can pull off a name like Dragon.
Have been chatting to a lot of guys from Internews, who run the community radio station here called Radyo Bakdaw. And this week I was asked to be a judge on their Friday afternoon karaoke competition – which is quite the honour! Every Friday 15 hopefuls come along to the radio station car park to try their luck, sing on the air, and win a radio, along with about 200 people who come along to watch and cheer them on.
It was great fun, and a refreshing and nice break from all the stress and drama going on at work at the moment!
The water here is also a bit weird – I think that’s why my hair has gone so dry and frizzy and peculiar, no matter how much conditioner I slap on it, and the skin around my nails started peeling too. My nails are all brittle and keep cracking and breaking, so I’m fairly sure I’m probably also a bit short of some nutrient or other, but have no idea what it is.
Luckily, I’m going on holiday soon! I’ve got almost 3 weeks of annual leave to take before the end of March, so I’m heading to Australia to visit my lovely brother and his family, as well as seeing my dad and aunt, and catching up with a few friends who live in Oz at the same time. I can’t wait, as I am more than ready for a nice proper break and some down time. I’ve been really enjoying working on this response, but it does wear you down. After 3 months of working 12-hour days, 6 days a week, I am sooooo ready for a proper holiday, filled with wine, and cheese and relaxation, and my awesome nephews who will help keep me highly entertained for a while!