Ethiopia 2015 – Short term assignment in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia 2015 – Short term assignment in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Some where in the fall of 2014 I saw a advertisement for a short-term technical health role in Addis Ababa. The project description similar to a project I worked on three years past for USAID. But this assignment for a private sector group ‘Human Dynamics’ based in Austria under contract for the European Union. Like with other applications once they are emailed out they are forgotten. And, I go about my daily life working as I normally do, working in my community, socializing with my friends and spending time with my family. No more thought is given to the application because the reality in today’s 2015 market place is that I am one of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of job applicants in the global market. And, the chance of securing new contracts with new organizations that don’t know me is as slim as finding a needle in the haystack. And what is even at greater odds is the fact that I am working and each new opportunity must line up the stars——with the time to take off of work for my present employer and a sincere interest in the new project.

That stated, in late January I received notice that I was being considered for the short-term health advisor role with Human Dynamics. And luck had it: I am on leave at home in the States enjoying family time. And, yet also willing and interested to take on interim consultancy. So, when they called me I told them so… Consequently, I was awarded the contract after as series of emails and discussions.

And, it is here where I will begin. From this point forward I will write about going on a consulting assignment to Africa. As, I have never documented any specific assignment, I have decided that this Ethiopia contract gives me an opportunity to express my thoughts as I carry out the role from start to finish.

In part if not the only reason, I am going to write from start to finish for my family and dearest friends. They always ask me what I do and because my type of international lifestyle and career is foreign to the Americans who are my greatest supporters, I feel it is time to let them read about my daily activities. But, what ever I write applies to all of my blog readers who are considering a global career. My work is an example of what you can do and where you can go. So many people hear the term “AIDWORKER” but they don’t really understand what it means to work as a humanitarian, or what a developing nation is. They only know their own experience, their own industrialized modern western environment……

One thing I can say is this…..

Going to Africa is not the same as going to Hong Kong. The expectations I have for my assignment are different than when I am working in an industrialized city. Why, because everything is GREY.

Greyness is working in a place where the rules are not set in stone. Greyness is traveling to a place where the systems are naïve and health facilities are limited in the functionality and ability to cope with the issues of the people . Unlike in a industrialized city where every road is paved clean, homes, offices, hospitals have electricity (and generators that work 99% of the time in crisis), developing nations like Ethiopia suffer from a lack of supplies, manpower, and funding. So, rules and procedures are to be studied, strategized, and promoted for policy development, planning, implementation, and building. Consequently, my role as a aidworker ( or more frequently as a health consultant) is to give advice.I am given the opportunity to investigate, suggest, and provide my insight to others. What ever ideas I can provide are ideas for the local host nationals to consider. And, in that, I find great satisfaction for each and every opportunity I am given to travel to places like Addis Ababa.

So heres’ where I begin….

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