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  • by Jim Willis

Things international workers don’t tell you.


Or - why the person that worked in the country of “XYZ” for so long seems to be taking what’s happening in stride, and what you can learn from them.

The current nationwide lock-down is a glimmer into the life of people that work in insecure areas (combat zones, conflict areas, & the like). In that world, your movements are highly restricted. You’re on your guard 24/7. You watch everyone that comes near you. And you typically cover your face with a shemagh and wear eye protection when you’re outside.

Now add solid 10-foot walls, concertina wire, sniper blinds, and armed guards and you’ve got home and office.

For a quick trip to the grocery store, or anywhere else, you -

  • check the most recent intelligence reports for a go/no go decision

  • put on your body armor,

  • grab your weapon, (unless you’re an aid worker, then you don’t get one)

  • bring more armed guards, (if you’re an aid worker, you may not get these either)

  • you then head out in a convoy of vehicles

  • and you watch every vehicle that comes close to you as you navigate checkpoint after checkpoint on the way to the store.

Do this for months, sometimes years, on end and you’ve got the glamorous life of someone that works in an insecure country. It can be mind-numbing and frustrating, to say the least.

So, what’s the point? - - The key to remaining sane in these situations is to not accept it as “the new normal”. I hate that term. It doesn’t give people hope.

Look at it as something you’ve got to do for a specific period of time, but that you know will eventually come to an end. Believe me, it will end, and normalcy will return.


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