Monday, August 14, 2006

The Puerto Barrios Team

All MSF teams are are staffed by both “ex-pats,” (volunteers recruited from the MSF sections), and “local staff.” The ex-pat staff generally lives in the same housing. Members of the local staff live in their own homes.

There are three other “ex-pats” on my team: Conrado, a nurse from Columbia; Rafa, a logistican from Spain; and Dolors, the field coordinator from Spain. There was a fourth expat (Soledad, a nurse from Spain), but she went back to Spain soon after I arrived. Because our project is down-sizing, she will not be replaced.

Dolors, Rafa, Conrado, and I live together in the same house (see below). Dolors has done seven previous missions with MSF. Conrando was in Sudan for a year, and Rafa, like me, is on his first mission. Our local staff are: Felix (driver), Pedro (driver), Lissy (nurse), Leti (social worker), Jairo (press and communications), Celina (psychologist), Luz (cook and housekeeper), and Norma (cook and housekeeper, pic above).

I am the only person on our team who speaks English. Although the language barrier is sometimes frustrating, it is interesting to live and work with a multinational team. It takes considerable strength to be the only American around, however. In case you haven’t noticed, everybody hates the United States. Thank you George W Bush.

The pics above are of Conrado (seated in chair), and Lissy (on right, in clinic above). The pic below is of Soledad with arm around Rafa.

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