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This post is now part of J.’s book, Letters Left Unsent, available on Amazon.
Tags: aid effectiveness, Confession, HQ v. "the field", naval-gazing, Train of Thought, Travel
Ooh nice man- really like this layout, very cool…
I’ve made similar comparisons to being a paramedic in the streets – especially in the 1970s and early 80s. EMS, in it’s present form, was born in the early 1970s. I started my emergency services career in the mid to late 70s – and had the privilege to work with some of the first paramedics in the country – mainly because Portland was one of the birthplaces of the paramedic program.
Over time, EMS has become regulated, SOP’d, and protocol’d. That’s actually a good thing – I was one of the people who worked to professionalize the field. For as you know, some of the cowboys out there wear black hats, some wear white hats, and some are just scroungy drifters who mean know harm, but they couldn’t punch their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone actually help others.
In other posts I’ve talked (written) directly about the comparisons between EMS and international aid work. I think that particularly in the area of what those “ordinary citizens” can do, there are some very imporant parallels. In talking to people who want to become involved in aid but don’t know how, or have no relevant skills or background, I often use the paramedics analogy.
You still ride the bus?
Thanks for reading!
Just before leaving EMS in the mid-90s, I was asked if I wanted to serve as a Country Director in Azerbaijan. I declined. Later I was asked if I wanted to serve as a Country Director in Rwanda – again I declined. Later I applied for a SE Asia field representative position.
During our recent unplanned change in career, it is something The Wife and I considered doing. I have friends in SE Asia, Turkey, Africa, etc. Right now we are staying put – as long as my Dad is alive. I’m in the process of reacquiring my paramedic certification and am looking to get a job riding sideways in the back of an ambulance.
However, a friend is starting up a disaster management education organization and she has named me as one of the principals in this yet to be created company. We’ll see where this all goes….
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