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Friday, July 10, 2015

Confessions of a humanitarian: 'There are days I'd sacrifice world peace for a chocolate croissant' [Featured Article From The Guardian]

In the first of a regular series, Congo-based aid worker Dara Passano admits that years of humanitarian work have finally turned her capitalist.


“I might be more selfless if I had a reclining first class chair with an auto-massage function”. Illustration: Martina Pauková

I used to be the real thing – one of The People. I lived in a village. I wore plastic shoes. I rode a Flying Pigeon bicycle. I hosted such colonies of parasites that a whole university department might have built its reputation on the study of my intestines. Instead of toilet paper, I had leaves. Instead of electricity, I had starlight. Instead of wine, I had iodine tablets.

This, I thought, was solidarity.

But then I stopped volunteering and got hired by an NGO. My job was to travel, and I lived on the road. Every few days, as I crowded into the economy class queue at the airport, I would watch United Nations staff line up at the business class counter – and I would despise them.

Those big pretenders, I thought. With their chic haircuts and their pressed suits and their rollerbags. I could see, even across the socioeconomic gulf, that their fingernails were manicured and shiny.

They made me sick. Had they any idea how many people a single business class flight could pull out of poverty? No, of course they didn’t. In their experience, injustice meant arriving at the coffee break table just after the mini quiches had run out.


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Well, the years passed, and I travelled and travelled, and then one night, while trying to sleep in a hotel room that was so stained and filthy it looked as if someone had tossed live chickens into the overhead fan (possibly why the fan was now broken), it occurred to me that I might care more about social justice if I, too, was de-wormed and had access .........To Read More,Click On This Link.

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