Monthly Archives: February 2013

A first to remember

Everyone has a first time.  No not that first time, I mean the first time you know why you exist.  The first time you realised that what you think, feel and do matters.  Oh yeah, sorry I meant to start with a warning that this blog post may verge a little on the deep and reflective.

It all started with a relapse into my teenage years following my 36th 30th 26th birthday when I thought I’d check out the Dolly Magazine website.  I read a blog by Tiffany Dunk, editor of Dolly, about her recent to trip to India.  And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I got teary as I read it.  Didn’t help that I was reading it when I should have been paying attention in a meeting but I just couldn’t stop.  You see India was my first time.

It wasn’t my first time traveling and it certainly wasn’t the first time I had witnessed a less than savoury side of life.  But it was the start of knowing for absolute sure what I was going to be when I grew up.  Yep it was when I knew that I was going to be a humanitarian communicator.

Reading Tiffany’s blog was almost like a “This is Your Life” moment.  The chaos and colour, the heat and the food of India filled my mind.  And the memory of that horrible heart-wrenching pause I felt in a father’s response to the hopeful bright eyes of his daughter.  That moment where reality was cruelly allowed to suppress hope.

I don’t much like reality.  I like sci-fi, fantasy and the odd cartoon.  I like happy endings and yes I like rom-coms.  And here I was, one of seven people crammed into a tiny concrete box of a home, sweat running down my face, transfixed by a little girl looking at her HIV infected father in much the same way I use to, and probably still do, look at mine.   Seeing his hesitation and unease at his daughter’s gaze as she dreamed of a future affected me more than the filth of the city slums and the exhaustive poverty.

I would never again be able to say I’m not sure what to do with my life.  In the two and half years since I was in India I’ve worked toward this, and just for you guys, I’ve started documenting my journey to becoming a humanitarian communicator.  In four weeks time I will move into a new role as a communicator within our humanitarian team.  It is going to be a massive learning curve working with some incredible people.  I am excited, scared and sad to leave my current team of amazing communicators.  But it is time to grow up and stop changing the channel when a bit of reality comes through my TV.

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