Thursday, December 15, 2005

The issue of men (and in particular the lack of attractive single ones) continues to be a constant gripe for the women of Darfur. Since my disastrous experience with the self-absorbed aid worker a few months ago, I've started to work again on Fridays.

I know we're here to work (and trust us, in the absence of the Friday men, we're finding it hard to be dragged away from our desks for even a day), but that doesn't mean we would be adverse to being knocked off our feet by that knight-in-shining-landcruiser.

Most of us, alas, have not had the pleasure.

What's worse, the huge number of intelligent, attractive and interesting women in Darfur have tipped the odds so overwhelmingly in favour of the single boys that it seems the few remaining members of the species hardly make an effort to woo us anymore.

Chat up lines in Darfur have become accordingly dire. A fellow aid worker emailed me recently to complain about this trend, having just been subjected to, "I've seen so much today, I just can't face sleeping alone."

"That's nothing," my housemate sighs when I read out the email to her. "At the last NGO party, I spoke to a guy who tried to lure me over to his guest house by bragging about the super-size box of condoms he managed to get off one of the medical NGOs. Thankfully, he fell asleep on top of the drinks cooler after his fifth cup of Janjaweed juice (highly potent and absolutely vile homebrewed alcohol that is served up at aid worker parties)."

I blame it on the "Darfur goggles", a condition we unfortunately seem to develop whereby one's usual dating standards drop by about a mile and cringe worthy chat-up lines or terrible excuses for not calling somehow become almost cute.

One friend has become so desperate she's approached her human resource manager and demanded proof that her organisation's recruitment for Darfur positions truly corresponds with their gender-balanced philosophy. "Seriously, are there no male doctors and engineers anymore? Why the hell can we only get qualified women into these jobs?"

Enough is enough. I have promised the ladies to note their displeasure and have started asking former male colleagues (in particular hot, single ones) to apply for posts in Darfur. Blog readers fitting this description, please take note and check out Reliefweb.


At , Blogger John1975 said...

I'm going to apply!

You are a lucky. Luckier than you realize!


At , Blogger John1975 said...

The problem with these organizations is they want individuals that are Academicly skilled vs. one that is skilled worldly "School of hard knocks".

The following qualification is for an "observer-advisor" in Afghansitan. You actually think someone who is wealthy enough to have a Masters is going to risk their life? I'm sure they'd be more confortable making more money in a safer enviornment.

Don't get me wrong; I know there out there but, they are few and far between.

I've been trying for years to get on with the UN in any peacekeeping mission. Instead I'm hired by "military-contractor" "private security" companies. And all because I do not have a degree.

I don't know, it just seems like a waste to me. I know many men who would jump at the chance to be where you are doing what you are doing but, for what ever reason througout out their lives they never got a piece of paper saying they have a degree. Even though these men have years and years of "real-world" experience making good money elswhere they are turned down.

I would imagine the UN and the different aid organizations are no different than the "private-security" field. It really isn't what you know but, who you know that gets you the job.

Not only that but, with the current way of this world the CIA and other intelligence organizations trys to stick their ugly-bloodthirsty, selfish nose into these organizations anyway they can.

Qualification and Skills required:

An advanced degree (Masters) and at least five to ten years of experience in monitoring and evaluation of development programmes and projects.
Experience in managing development-related projects.
Knowledge of organizational administration.
Experience in working in crisis/post conflict countries.
Knowledge of UNDP corporate tools and ability to represent UNDP corporate goals effectively.
Fluency in English and working knowledge of Dari/Pashto would be an asset.
Excellent writing and communication skills.

With all due respect!!

I'm not angry or attacking you personaly if that's how it comes off. I'm just frustrated at the system.


At , Blogger John1975 said...

Don't freak out but, I've posted a picture for you.

You have to visit my blog to see it, though!

No, I'm not stalking ya; I'm just bored tonight and after reading your latest entry thought I'd post a pic for you and my readers.

Have a good night!


At , Blogger Larryw said...

Dear Sleepless,
My 2 cent of advice: This is not scientific but anecdotally I have found that the most surprising and best relationships just sneak up on you when you aren't looking. Sometimes they take knowing someone for awhile. At the sametime, the heart breaks are the same whether you are in your 20s or a forty something (as I am). One of the best books I have read on the subject of relationships is "A Fine Romance." I don't know why but I have a feeling that you do not have the mega bookstores we have here in the US but I would happily send it to you or you can order it from Amazon if they would deliver to Sudan. Essentially, the book tells you that we are brought up with the mistaken notion that prince charming is going to come along and knock us dead. Actual relationships and long lasting ones are entirely another story. You are still young and doing wonderful things so relax. Any man (and he needs to be worthy) will scoop you up in a heart beat. I would love to meet someone who is sufficiently un-self absorbed to take themself out of wherever you came from (looks like England from the way you spell English words) to one of the most uncomfortable places on earth. Fondly, Larry

At , Blogger Vasco Pyjama said...

Oh dear. Your rant sounds eerily similar to my rant about my then single status. My heart goes out to you, babe. But if it helps, I have a very cute puppy here who is 6'2", blond, metrosexual, highly single and works for UNIFEM in VAW. I am happy to send him over. :)

And John1975, I have three degrees (including a Masters degree) AND am risking my life in Afghanistan. Perhaps you should revise you theory?

At , Blogger sands of sudan said...

SO it really does exist!!!! I thought i was the only one to suffer from that condition.Only my diagnosis had a slight difference in the name..(sudan goggles): a chronic condition affecting a majoraty of individuals who enter sudan and spend an extensive amount of time in the country.
clinical signs include: 1.depression,
3.having unrestrained visions of choking that guy who snapps for money on the (muwasalat)(bus) if he so much looks at u again,
4.fantasize luaghing hystarically for no apparant reason(while choking that guy who snaps for money on the muwasalt!!)
5.The only thought that is consumming your mental capasity all day is getting home and taking a shower.
6.almost falling for that jerk who u wouldnt even look at once (let alone twice) had the surroundings been different..
Thankfully my doctor assured me that my case was mild and because i have a strong immune system i was now im happy to say that im well and immune to the disease.well, lets hope so..
my heart goes out to u guys ...good luck

At , Blogger InKhartoum said...

Well, Sleepless, the sad truth is that we are all in Khartoum. It is a strange and unfortunate situation in which we find ourseleves. There are lots and lots of married/couples and plenty of very attractive women passing through to Darfur...

And for Mr John1975 - the MA is not everything - very few of my colleagues in Sudan (for it is here!) have masters or even RELEVANT bachelors...but, also, I imagine that equating the humanitarian community with 'private security' (see mercenaries, bodyguards etc) is unlikely to win you points at interview - even with the UN!

Oh, and the way I see it - a job description is a bit like a Christmas present list, you know that you probably won't get everything you have asked for, but if you don't ask, you definitely won't!


At , Blogger miss nelson said...

this does sound very troubling if one is a straight girl, as it sounds like you are. if one was a girl who likes girls, it actually sounds like a fantastic situation! i realize that may be little reassurance to you, though.

my frustrating!


At , Blogger dorn said...

We have the reverse problem up here in El Fashir. I've been here over 5 months and my love life is beginning to eerily resemble this crisis: arid dry and badly in need of foreign aid. You ladies should come up to Fasher.

At , Blogger sharley said...

Sister I don't know how you are doing it. I'm smitten with a UN Peacekeeper myself, and he's always shipping off somewhere. I get to see him briefly maybe every couple months. I mean I like my space but man..kills me. I'm not where you are so I can't even imagine..

Do you ever go home for a break or to see family? You need to lock yourself up some "passing through town a--"... seriously...

At , Blogger sean said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At , Blogger sean said...

John: I'm certainly no Don Juan, but a word to the wise: there's something fundamentally creepy about beginning a sentence with "no, I'm not stalking you."

And as for the correlation between academic degrees and the willing to risk one's life, I can't say that I agree with you. There is a large number of highly educated men and women willing to eat sheep eyes in Tajikistan or be caught between a Maoist-shaped rock and a hard place outside of Katmandu.

So while the "school of hard knocks" is certainly nothing to denigrate, having a good grasp of geopolitics and the workings of international law can oftentimes be more helpful than knowing how to throw a hand grenade, particularly since the last time I checked, none of the P-3s at UNDP or Oxfam were shooting a kalashnakov.

At , Blogger John said...

Don't worry - 30 year old guys are mostly pigs anyhow (I was one). Your clearly doing something of meaning, and building some interesting life expierences. THere are people lonely all over the world, doing less fullfilling work. Hang in there, and Merry Christmas.

At , Blogger anonymous said...

it's tough.

you wanna make a difference.

so you sign up and hurl your well intentioned amalgam of hope, strength, courage and college educated parts (and by the sounds of it, beauty) that comprise your very being, your ethos, thousands of miles from home to help. to truly make a difference.

only to find out that your libido went along for the ride as well.

every worthwhile endeavor requires a lot of sacrifice?

more like no good deed goes unpunished.

i wish you luck, sleepless. as for me, i need to learn from your experience. i need to make sure that not only do i make the jump from 'small fish in a big aquarium to a medium sized fish in a small aquarium' but that the 'fish' i'm jumping in with are not only available but desirable. and by that i mean available and worthwhile females.

all this talk of fish is making me hungry. gotta go eat.

At , Blogger Gabrielle Eden said...

So unfortunate that we- you and myself- have been created in such a way that we cannot stop hoping for a hot man!

Please visist my website - a collection of my inspirations -

I hope you enjoy it!

At , Blogger gp said...

I dunno if I'm a hot guy or not, let you be the judge of that, but I spent many an evening lying on my bed looking at the darfur sky, whishing I had hot babe in my arms. I'm a nurse, fieldco for msf, and sure, I agree, from a girls point of view, there probably are not enough guys in darfur. I'm here and waiting.


At , Blogger Nakai said...

I've been working in South Sudan and the situation is quite different here - the men outnumber the women by quite a large number. I felt like a piece of meat when I first arrived in town. I'm surprised to hear that the women are doing all of the emergency work in Darfur, my experience has been that it's still very much a man's field. I came across this website which I thought you might enjoy:
Best of luck!

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