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Childhood dreams of becoming an aid worker

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved listening to BBC. I love listening to Focus on Africa, and have been a fan since the days when it was presented by Rick Wells. My friends and other people were surprised that at my tender age, I was keen about hardcore news.

When there was a coup d’etat in West Africa, or a landmine blowing up a child in Angola, when there was mayhem in Kosovo or terror between Israelis and Palestinians, when journalists were deliberately killed in Somalia or when child soldiers were  being used to take over a small town somewhere in the heart of Africa, when there was an earthquake or bomb blast in Asia,… when any disaster struck humankind, I heard it on radio.

Normally, the news did not stand alone – the reported always made it a point to interview an aid worker to tell the world the developments or even confirm the incident. It touched me that in the middle of disaster, when people ought to be fleeing, there were people on the ground helping.

In about 2001, there was a volcanic eruption in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.You guessed right – I listened to Focus on Africa and followed the developments. From my homeland Uganda, I saw several white trucks in convoy, heading west, towards Congo.  The trucks were labeled, UN. My heart was filled with admiration. I was more convinced that I wanted to be part of such operations.

Forget being the popular lawyer. A humanitarian aid worker is what I wanted to become when I grew up.

Therefore, I joked to my friends that in a few years time, I would be sending them post cards from Mogadishu, Sierra Leone, Kabul or wherever a volcano has just awoken from sleep. When the earth shook too violently, I wanted to be there. When it rained to much and BBC was reporting that it’s flooding somewhere, I wished I could be there.

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