fierce attachments

a mother-daughter blog about the fierce attachments in our lives… title inspired by Vivian Gornick's wonderful memoir

Tag: humanitarian aid work

the path not taken: a mother and her aid worker daughter

by nikki meredith

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 

And sorry I could not travel both…

 Robert Frost

“Mom, please tell me….if it’s going to be too hard on you, I won’t go.”

Caitlin and I were sitting outside at Emporio Rulli, our neighborhood Italian Bakery drinking tea on a shimmering fall day. She was scheduled to leave soon for Darfur where she’d be working as an epidemiologist with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The news from the region was dreadful.  In a pitched battled against settled farmers, an armed militia group known as the Janjaweed were on a rampage, burning down villages, killing men, raping women. Children were starving.  The year she was scheduled to go, the fighting had reached a peak and the conflict was then considered one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world.  I got a knot in my gut every time I thought of her embarking on that particular journey but there was more to the story. Read the rest of this entry »


aid worker underwear

by caitlin meredith

underwear on washing line via

I’m at it again. Packing. This time it’s for a one-month stint in South Sudan. The conditions will be tough, I’ve been warned. Shared sleeping tents, limited electricity, knee-deep mud, two latrines for forty people. I’ve already gotten much advice from the hardened colleagues already there: Bring vitamins, Ruby shared, because fruits and vegetables are thin on the ground. A good torch is extra necessary to navigate the snakes and scorpions in the night, Matt advised. And don’t forget the rain gear – have I heard that August is the height of the rainy season?

All of these tips are well-received. Ziploc bags full of my REI headlamp, Pepto Bismol, AA batteries, malaria pills, multivitamins and spare umbrella are piled atop my “go bag.” Unfortunately I’m still hung up on the most basic of provisions. Which underwear am I going to bring? Read the rest of this entry »

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