Third World to the First World

With the finish of my extra bonus mission in Darfur it was time to return to the MSF headquarters in Paris for debriefings and other finishing up items. I landed back in time to catch the last day of the famous Paris Air Show, which provided me with the maximum culture shock - the undeveloped open desert of Sudan with its mud huts contrasting with the huge new airliners, private jets and shiny military jet fighters.

Even looking back on my experiences at this stage I can see that I have learnt more than I expected about the complexities of trying to help other countries deal with extreme poverty. While it is easy to see that the efforts of the last months have made a big difference to the people we helped directly, it is more difficult to pin down whether this effort was a wonderful small part of a worthwhile larger goal, or simply a small band aid on a hopeless situation.

I have yet to decide for sure whether to do another mission or not, or whether perhaps to try out another organisation, or whether to simply run back to safe beautiful New Zealand. With a good few weeks holiday in Europe stretched out in front of me I guess I have plenty of time to think about it.


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