Can ya hang, ain’t nuthin’ but a she thang…

27 May

A conversation with a colleague today left me feeling the need to do a shout-out…

To single mothers who are also aid workers.

Yes, I know that everyone here sacrifices in one way or another, and in some way lays it on the line to do what we all do…

But I have to recognize the single moms.

* * *

My single-mom colleague manages what those who work for my employer call the “kevlar portfolio”: Lebanon, Gaza, West Bank, and Afghanistan.

Strictly speaking, she’s not on the emergency response side of our International Programs department. She’s on the “development” side. But really…  are there really any development programs in Gaza or the West Bank? When beneficiaries live daily with the very real threat of rocket attacks, stray UZI rounds, or tanks randomly driving through their fields, I tend to think of that as an “emergency context”, rather than a “development context.” I do understand why it’s important to some to refer to work in Afghanistan as “development.” But seriously, go there. Go through the process of visiting the field in Herat or Jalalabad or Badghis: it’s the world’s most invisible slow-onset (or not so slow) emergency.

When I wrote about hearing the bomb blast, my single-mom colleague, coincidentally traveling with me on that trip, actually saw it. She was just across the street when the bicycle bomb detonated.

And she’s about to deploy again. To Afghanistan.

* * *

Single-mom-aid-workers… you know who you are. You have my respect.

And Christine – travel well. Stay safe. Cheers…

6 Responses to “Can ya hang, ain’t nuthin’ but a she thang…”

  1. transitionland 27 May, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    The woman you wrote this post about sounds like a total badass. Yay for her!

  2. Elizabeth 31 May, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    And I must absolutely agree, on that ‘bad ass’ moniker! I believe you she ( and each of you ) are courageous and dedicated beyond anything I’ve ever done.

    • Jeff 1 June, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

      She’d be amused to hear herself referred to in this way by you and Transitionland… but yeah, “badass” is about right.

  3. Elizabeth 31 May, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    One more thing…..being a single mom is gutsy! Been there…fiercely!

  4. Elizabeth 1 June, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    While I live in the Seattle area, I’m just getting to know your work and a few others in this circle. Extraordinary people all!

    Travel safely and be well…..

  5. Christine 7 June, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    Hey you! LOVED. THIS. POST. loved it! I may send it to my mom, even. so it’s election day in Beirut and so far no violence although they say tomorrow should be pretty ugly. Fun times! and yet, I’ve had several nice long uninterrupted showers, and the words thomas the tank engine have not crossed my lips once since I arrived, so I’m feeling pretty mellow right about now…
    safe travels to PAK.

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