The point of realisation

I think if you are going to follow me on this journey I think its only fair if I share when I realised I need to do more.  As i have said before doing something along the line of aid work was been a thought for a good few years, but what kicked started me?

Im sure everyone has that song, speech or poem they hear or a book they read which makes them stop and think.  For me it was a song, when I first heard this song it made everything else in my world just stop, every line in the lyrics just brought a deeper connection with me.  The song stuck with me ever since, I listen to it often and will continue to do so.  I can honestly say this song changed me, made me realise that I have to stop thinking and start doing.

If this song hits a note with you, please do buy it, is a charity single raiding money for  Restless Beings, the track costs only 99p and 100% goes to the charity.

Why?

The question that repeatedly asked to me is “Why aid work?” In my head it’s pretty clear, but explaining the reasons sometimes gets mixed reactions.

My reason for wanting to do aid work is a question that is deeper than it looks. For years it has been a burning desire of mine. I have always wanted to help other people. Anyone who knows me well enough would know that I would help with no complaints at a drop of a hat.

Now I can hear some of you saying “So you like helping people, but why aid work?”

I am a firm believer, that everyone in is born in this world are equal. Questions I commonly find myself asking myself are;
How come I can pop to the shop and buy paracetamol easily yet there are so many people who find getting the most basic of medication hard?
Why can I go turn a tap and have access to clean water, yet again so many people have to walk miles for water which may not even be clean?
How come I have access to all the food from all around the world yet so many people are starving due to lack of food?

These are all problems which can be improved with effort.

I have always had the desire to help people, its part of my nature.  I hate seeing sadness and sorrow, when I see people struggling all I want to do is help.  Aid work will be just taking these thoughts and feelings and talking them to the next level. I have never really been financially driven, I have for the most been driven by personal reward, feeling the sense of accomplishment and worth, I have no desire to be famous and little desire for be wealthy.  I get my satisfaction from the feelings that I have helped someone making their life just that little bit better.

The idea of giving up my luxuries and the material things in my life to help provide a better life to people who work so hard to so little sounds incredibly rewarding, It will not be easy but if the end result is improving someone else’s life and making even just the smallest of differences ending with a smile, then the hard work would pay off.

If you were lucky enough to catch the documentary which was aired in the UK on ITV called ‘The Life of Loss of Karen Woo’ or you have read any of the number of articles relating to aid workers going missing and being found murdered, you will know that doing aid work is in no way a safe job to do. Often aid would be needed in areas in which some kind of war is ongoing cutting off supplies. Some foreign aid worker providing supplies are not always welcome.

I watched the Karen Woo documentary already knowing that I wanted to undergo this journey, as I watched it I was hugely influenced by Karen and her desire to help. Karen Woo was a British doctor who was very driven by humanitarian aid work, she was part of a aid group providing medal care to a remote village on return they were ambushed and murdered (Source). Although attacks like these are rare, it highlights the dangers involved in this line of work. To many this would put them off, but I reacted much differently. It made me want to go help more, as strange this may sound to some people.  This feeling is very hard to explain, but I get the feeling that the people Karen and her team were trying to help needed them, they deserve the help they desire, and should be given it.  Possibly its a feeling of defiance, no one should stop the help getting through.

I hope this explains more of the why I want to do aid work and how I view things that stand in the way and the risks involved. This is how that I see aid work, as taking what I currently do to help people and taking that to the next level

Dan. :)

Do I have what it takes?

First of all I would like to thank each and every one you for all the positive feedback from my first blog post. Your support means a huge amount to me!

I have been seeking the answers to a few questions including:

  • What does being an aid working mean?
  • Could I actually do it?
  • How do I become an aid worker?

I have spent the last few days reading various blog posts, and stories from people who have done aid work in one way or another, gone from full time jobs, have families, yet still undertaken the path of aid work.

One thing I knew when I was thinking about pursuing this was that not all aid working is easy, fluffy and completely full of happy times. Being an aid worker I don’t believe for one second is going to be easy, you would have to be very naive to think it would be!

The truth is you have to deal with some very difficult situations, whether its disaster aid where you are in an area of the world recovering from a natural or man made disaster or development aid where you are working with communities helping them build sustainable living where living conditions are hard. Also it involves a lot of hard work which will often involves working 7 days a week with little recreational downtime and having to deal with sights and situations which will be hard emotionally to deal with.

This brings me to the topic of ‘Can I do it?’. This is a two fold question, I have spent a lot of time over many years thinking about the answer to this question, I am quite a sensitive person but I am good at hiding emotions and dealing with issues at hand.  I am often called a bit of a workaholic, I don’t like idle time, so the amount of work which would be required is not an issue for me. Can I survive in places with little running clean water? and basic food supplies? Yes and Yes! I would have no problems and consider myself good at being able to adjust to any environment.  The other side of this question is the areas out of my control, like would someone hire me? This leads on the the last question I want to approach in this blog ‘How do I become an aid worker?’

I left college with a BTEC Diploma and entered my job.  I never went to university, I have always been a more ‘hands-on’ learner and I’m quick and picking things up, and learning new skills, but how would this trait help me in my Journey, would this pose to be a huge hill to get over? only time would tell. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, I have seen a lot of mentions about networking, key skills, degrees in required subjects. Seeing the mention of degrees worries me.

Networking is definitely something I can work on, and I will be looking at conferences I can attend, contacting people who are aid workers seeking advice and also some charities to find out what they would require from me.

As more questions get answered, more questions require answering and I become more committed to getting to the end of this Journey!

Dan. :)

My Journey

My Journey starts today. I’m 28, nearing 30, I own a house with a mortgage in negative equity, I have debts and after a good number of years I have come to realise that the way my life has gone is not the way my life should have gone, but now FINALLY I have come to realise what my end goal in life should be.

I am starting this blog to express thoughts of my journey, gather feedback on my thoughts and progress but ultimately provide a resource for other people like myself who are in the same situation. I will make mistakes in my journey, but it’s the recovering and keeping the motivation going which is the key to any Journey.

I currently work in IT, as a programmer for a large software company.  I have been here for 11 years, and although I enjoy what I do, BUT I don’t leave work every day thinking ‘I have just made a difference’. My skills are mainly around IT, but have strong project/task management skills. I feel this is not the most ideal starting position.

I’m calling this my Journey because of the amount of work I have to do to accomplish the end task, to finally reach my final destination, to become a full-time humanitarian aid worker. I have done basic research, and I understand that it’s not easy to break into the aid working environment. ‘Why would anyone trust you when you have no experience’ is the general feeling that I get.

For the last 18 months I have been following a charity which I hold close to my heart. Restless Beings, the charity is relatively new but has a pro-active and dedicated team and the people behind the charity echo everything I believe in. They are truly inspirational.  After speaking to a good number of friends, family members and good acquaintances I finally took the step to approach the charity. If they agree to take me on as a team member it will give me a huge insight onto what it will take to progress the full distance of my journey while helping an amazing charity!

Next step I feel, is further investigation. What do I need to do to develop myself?  Who do I need to talk to?  How can I learn what is required? One thing I do know is this is what I have REALLY wanted to do my whole life.

I really hope you enjoyed reading, and I look forward to your comments, feedback and hopefully your support.

Dan :)