Like most young Europeans I am a recent graduate. A graduate of a pretty decent university. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to study what interests me the most – International Relations and Humanitarian Aid. Unfortunately, after those beautiful days of bright student conversations I clashed with the reality of postgraduate existence. Like Dustin Hoffman in 1967 I needed to decide what I wanted to do next. Taking into account all the obstacles, like money, space and time, as well as other great applicants somehow more suitable for my dream job, I said hello to Simon & Garfunkel’s old friend - darkness. I have to admit that getting into the flow of the job market wasn’t easy to me. Frankly, all of the rejections and part time jobs directed me towards my greatest adventure. I still remember my shaking hands and moisten eyes when I found out that I was selected to do an EVS in Nepal.
It did sound like an unbelievable dream back then but it is really happening. I am in Nepal and for already 3 months I am being responsible for a WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) project of a local NGO. In brief I carry out an evaluation of post disaster toilet construction and conduct sanitation and hygiene workshops. At the very beginning, together with my two workmates, we prepared an extensive survey that consist of two parts – a questionnaire based one and an educational one. Everyday, fully equipped and full of positive energy we visit Thulachap’s households. Besides enjoying the view on our endless walks up and down the astonishing Himalayan hills we interview community members trying to evaluate former development activities, find out most burning issues and raise awareness on WASH related problems.
I do love this job. Getting to know a local community, its everyday burdens and hopes, gives me a deeper look into the main difficulties of humanitarian and development support. The struggle over delivering sensible and sustainable aid is real and the mechanism of dependency is truly challenging. Overcoming lack of political will, corruption or maltreatment of assistance is difficult but not impossible. Following the humanitarian principles and the empowerment of grass root organizations, I believe, are the most important milestones of the effectiveness of international aid. I have been lucky in that I got to learn and grow from both achievements and slip-ups I was able to observe as part of my project. No one, before my departure, told me that it will be easy. Many people said that it will be emotionally and physically exploiting. I knew that my EVS will be rewarding and enriching. All of them were right, including myself.