There is a misconception among my friends and family back home that aid work is all about high-powered action and life or death experiences, but in reality, much of my job is made up of 'hurry up and wait' moments. Late nights behind the computer and in meetings are just as common as long waits for that airplane, that WFP helicopter, or that road from hell to just please be over with.
The one redeeming part of the bumpy treks in the 4WDs are the drivers, who scandalous gossip would put any hairdresser to shame. They know everything and everyone, and rarely run out of weird and wonderful stories. As a woman, I’m told I miss some of the more raunchy ones but even the tame versions are enough to cheer up another long drive through dusty Darfur.
Today, the driver tells me that he has heard about a shooting in Foro Barunga. A man was trying to rob a horse a few nights ago when he suddenly heard a noise on the other side of the property and promptly shot someone he believed to be the owner. The other guy, as it turns out, was also a thief trying to commit the same robbery - so he shot back.
Even though I fail to confirm whether it was really a horse or a house the robbers were after (I ask three times, but still can't decide which word Hamid's going for) or if anyone was actually killed in the shoot-out, I can't seem to stop laughing.
More and more, I find myself giggling even when the stories are told in Arabic and I barely catch a word. It's just impossible NOT to join in when there are two or three people around you just pissing themselves with laughter.
It's a beautiful habit: freely and genuinely laughing at something that you don't really understand, or that isn't really that funny. Why not, I suppose…
Tags: Sudan, Darfur, NGO, aid worker, WFP, 4WD, bumpy road, Foro Barunga