Kath (the New York Section Human Resources Officer for MSF Spain, Belgium, and Switzerland) called me the morning of July 10th with a potential field assignment. I had already gone back and forth with NYC HR staff in May and June about potential projects in Uzbeckistan and Guatemala. The Uzbeckistan TB project did not fit the dates that I was available. The Guatemala City project sounded a lot like the job I was trying to run away from in New York; I did not want to go to live in massive Capital city and do primary care medicine.
I was half asleep when Kath called that morning. She said there was a potential job opening in Guatemala. Shit! I already told them I did not want to go to Guatemala. Apparently this was a different project. She said she would e-mail me a project description. Could I get back to her by later that afternoon? I fell back asleep.
By the time I got up and opened my email, I had about six hours to decide whether I wanted to take the Guatemala post. The file Kath sent was in Spanish. It described an HIV/AIDS antiretroviral treatment project in Puerto Barrios Guatemala. This was different from the Guatemala City project that I had already vetoed.
I called Kath back and told her I was interested. She told me that they needed somebody as soon as possible. Could I be ready to leave by 7/23/06? I would need to go to Spain “on the way” to Guatemala for my Barcelona briefing. That left 10 days to pack my possessions, move out of my apartment, and say goodbye to my friends and family.