I can still hear Wendy say ‘We really have to post a blog soon…’. A few weeks later the same message comes from me and so we continue to follow each other without picking up a pen. We have only posted two blogs and the first was in February of this year. But now, dear friends.. in the last weeks of this year.. of our period in Iraq.. as an employee of Tearfund it’s finally there.. 2018 in a nutshell: A blog!
Sometimes I hardly dare to write. Feeling guilty about the fact that we have been so quiet. In the first six months in particular, we were socially rather antisocial. In 2017 I often prayed for a new challenge. Well, let me tell you one thing… Beware of what you pray for. Because we have gotten that challenge! And how!
Unique challenges and lots of change
To start with: We are doing well. We are tired but satisfied. Feel healthy again both physically and mentally. Can exercise frequently, eat healthy and live in a beautiful apartment two minutes walk from the office. We have devoted the majority of the past year and the hours spent in a day, to work, work and more work. Of course we knew that when we left for Iraq with Tearfund, that we would work a lot and that there was a big challenge awaiting us. However, we did not expect that there would be so much to do! The amount of changes that have been made in one year have been unique for us (and believe me, we are quite used to change).
The challenge with emergency aid projects is not just about the fact that you may have to live in dangerous places. That it’s freaking hot or just as cold as ice. You have to deal with rules that can make life very complicated. And where everything around you constantly changes. There is more… For example, finding qualified people who want to serve in a country like Iraq. The impact of a lack of employees means that you sometimes have to perform multiple roles for too long a period. In addition, you have the non-stop personnel changes going on around you. On average people do not stay for seven years, but only for about one year. And there are many different and understandable reasons for this.
The program in Iraq is Tearfund’s largest project. When the situation escalated with ISIS in 2014, Tearfund came to Iraq and in four years the organisation in Iraq has grown from nothing to a $ 10 million portfolio with around 110 employees. The team worked very hard to serve people in Iraq through CASH, Livelihoods, Protection, Social Cohesion, NFI and WASH projects in various places in Iraq including Mosul and Kirkuk.
2018 has been a year of continuous change but also a year of stabilization. A year in which we switched from a top-down to a bottom-up mentality. Having grown enormously in terms of capacity. Working as a team on a five-year strategy for Iraq. Helping more than 30,000 people… A year in which… you know… I can continue to write but how can you process almost 1 year in 1 blog? This would be a story in a nutshell. So in short: a lot of nuts have been cracked!
When you go through a phase of intense stress and continuous change, there are also those moments when you withdraw from it all. Taking rest and reflecting on all of what happened is crucial. Such moments can even lead to new dreams… and for those who know us a bit, we do not like to keep it with only dreaming. We dare and do. And that has led to something new. News that may be a surprise to many of you (maybe we apologize again for our non-social behaviour). This news is the same reason to make a blog or vlog again soon because we might have stirred up the curiosity…
Are you ready? We will come back to the Netherlands from January for a longer period and to start up our own company. More information soon.