I’m off to Zambia on Monday. I wish it was under better circumstances, but it’s to go and be with my ill brother, to spend some time with him and help him get better. At the same time I think it will be a good time for me to go and get a reality check.
When your work revolves around HIV prevention for young people, it’s kind of hard to do it effectively when you’re 1,000 of miles away from the problem and not getting a sense of what’s happening on the ground. Yes I read the reports and the briefings and try to keep up to date with what is proving to work and what doesn’t work. But whenever I go back to Africa, or any region with high prevalence rates, you sometimes get the sense that some of those reports are just words. You can’t know for real without seeing and experiencing the impact firsthand.
Working to improve the lives of people, whether it be through poverty, infant/maternal mortality, sexual health etc, is hard. It’s hard because even the small progress made is still insignificant to the problem. It almost seems insurmountable. And then when something hits home – especially for those of us who are personally invested in these issues, you get the feeling of ‘why do i bother? if nothing is changing, why do it?’
I know for some people this is a job, for me this isn’t just a job, it’s a huge part of my life. And if we’re not going to get it right, why are we doing it?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not demotivated, I’m just feeling challenged. So while I’ll be taking a time out to be with family, I hope I’ll come back re-focused, with some lessons learnt that I can incorporate in what I do.
Anyway, I’ve hardly been that regular with my blogs these last few weeks, but hopefully I’ll come back full of stories to tell!