A Different Kind of Expat: The Aid Worker

One of the greatest gifts I’ve received from my writing is experiencing the connection that can be forged between two people based entirely on the words that they write.

It never ceases to amaze me.

Several weeks ago I received an email from Elie over at Expat Backup. Her tagline is ‘aid workers need assistance, too’. She asked if she could interview me about emotional resilience for the upcoming monthly issue, Guide to Moving.

I checked out Elie’s site and was blown away by the concept and execution. International aid workers, who I happen to think of as the ‘Ironmen’ of expats, love what they do. Indeed many are driven to help others around the globe.

But their nomadic lifestyle and life’s work – helping the neediest among us, often in the worst of situations – can weigh heavily on their minds, bodies and souls. Elie created her site precisely to help address this.

Rather than writing weekly or semi-weekly postings, she’s focusing on more indepth, useful information in the form of a monthly report on a different topic of interest and need.

Because many international aid workers’ annual contracts expire in the summer, it’s a popular time of year for them to be moving on to the next country, project, challenge. Hence the topic of this month’s report.

Elie herself has gotten married this summer, and moved from Liberia to Senegal where she is a consultant in technology, health and education.

It took me all of 30 seconds to realize that I wanted to help out, to be part of such an incredibly worthwhile endeavor. To be asked to contribute was truly an honor, one that I was more than happy to oblige.

I hope you’ll take the time to check out Expat Backup, and think about the contribution of these unsung heroes who go forth to help make the world a better place, one posting at a time.

Check out the beautiful, thoughtful post Elie wrote about lessons learned as she packed to leave Monrovia for her next posting in Dakar. Oh that we were all this insightful! It’s entitled Manifestations of an Aid Worker, and it is food for thought for all of us.

And if you’re interested, here’s the article on emotional resilience focused squarely on international aid workers.


Image credit: clarita, morguefile.com


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