Marching of the Map : Fragments from a Diary
Why be a development professional? It is a line of work, where no matter how much you work and what you do, you never make enough money and that commodity is certainly necessary in today’s world. I guess the engine fuel is a single word: Passion. It is a funny and disquieting word. For it makes you travel on strange roads where there are few trails to follow, few comrades to lean on and few to mop up the mess you leave behind on life’s journey. And yet passion, like the old man atop Sinbad the sailor is a companion you can’t shake off- it is a burden and a joy all at the same time.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to impact the world or at least a small portion of it. .The vision was fragmented initially but ever since then it has become crystallized around the theme that every responsible citizenship is called upon to “serve his generation” as others have done in their time. For me this has been through my role as a development worker, initially as a mid level professional setting up projects that directly changed lives and today providing leadership to an organization and inputting into its strategies and equally importantly through my calling as a part time development writer addressing audiences and try and shape public opinion on matters of social importance.
Although over the years, one accumulates many stories and memories, one that is forever on my mind, is a small work that I initiated with Afghan refugees at a time when the Taliban were supreme in Afghanistan and it seemed that their rule would go on forever. The ignorance that most people had of them and their existence, even in my own development sector has taught me to constantly seek out the invisible needs in our midst that no one practically sees and make them visible and known to others. To rummage in the shadows where no one looks and bring obscure facts and situations in the light continues to guide a lot of the writing that I do too.
The project with the Afghan refuges helped many families which were scattered and fragmented find hope and identity in an alien land. The work was guided by the Bible’s teaching to always remember the stranger and the alien in our midst. Over the many years the project ran, many families were helped and reunited in different parts of the world. Then 9/11 happened and shortly thereafter the Allied invasion of Afghanistan which overthrew the Taliban. Many of the refugees who hitherto had been looking forward to nothing but gloom suddenly saw hope and freedom.
Many returned back to Afghanistan and some others settled else where. Although they could have forgotten us and rejoiced in their new found and some what unexpected freedom many remembered. From different parts of the world, they sent e mails and thank you for what the project titled”Umeed” (Hope) had done for them. Although my role was mostly limited to conceptualizing the project, hiring capable staff that had the same concern and vision and then leaving them to do their job, it was and is an unforgettable experience till this day.
Over the years, my understanding, involvement and roles as a development professional have changed considerably and more eclipsed my training as a medical doctor. But my passion remains the same – in different ways, using different means to silently change my world for good and God so that it may provide for the world, glimpses of a better world that may yet be and yes….. Hopefully like I said before serve my generation as best as I can, conscious that every evening, my yesterdays are becoming longer and my tomorrows becoming shorter. And that restless energy to be useful and the meaningful in the time given to me I hope will never cease.
Tags: Development Worker , Professional , Projects , Passion , Worker
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