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November 2, 2006

"Things will have to get a lot worse before we even think about it."

I had made the long journey to Colombo, hat in hand, armed with a full arsenal of data and documentation about the worsening situation of displaced people here (and a swag of war metaphors!). I had spread sheets, anecdotal evidence, reports, distribution figures, warehouse statistics (that clearly showed we have NO food left and only an odd assortment of non-food items left to distribute). I explained in length about what other organisations are doing, where the gaps are, the problems with access into the uncleared areas and how we have managed to skulk in a few times using a back road to distribute food. I described at length how the situation was only getting worse as more and more people arrived in the District, how the monsoon is making conditions unbearable and how we need to act now. I had my hand on my heart, literally, begging for money.

So when I was told that things would have to get a lot worse, I did what any professional, mature and responsible person would do. I cried and muttered some blubbery words about how I would ask both sides to step up their daily efforts in conflict creation to really really make the situation bad

I was given a tissue, two in fact. I dried my eyes and blew my nose. Then I sat there pink-eyed and red-faced and finished my meeting where we discussed just how much money we wouldn't be getting and just how many people we wouldn't be assisting.

What a fine example of how not to act when one is pretending to be a grown-up with a grown-up job I thought as I mooched my way out of the office looking every bit the unprofessional in a pair of rubber thongs, jeans and a dirty cowboy shirt. I walked down the stairs past all the shiny posters showing smiling poor people and red-dirt villages with thatched-roof huts - our bright happy logo on every single one of them. And then I thought, fuck ya, why don't you put your money where the hungry kids' mouth is...

Posted by catherine at November 2, 2006 3:58 PM


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