Doctor without borders
By the formation of Maya – teacher of foreign languages. In 1991, she was offered to be a volunteer in Russia in the MSF program ("doctors without borders"), after which it worked for a long time in the Russian mission of the Belgian branch. When the Belgian branch in Russia was closed, Maya began working with missions around the world and since 2009 already visited Sierra Leone, India, Côte d’Ivoire, Somaliland, to Haiti, in Mali, Pakistan and now returned to Haiti again.
What are you directly engaged in the organization?
– Now I am a financial coordinator. I started as a translator and even logistics some time was engaged.
Are there any household moments that help adapt?
– Yes, psychologists advise to carry faithful shampoos with them, although now even in the most remote countries, almost everything is already available. In Sierra Leone in a small-little store in the village I found a deodorant made in St. Petersburg. And scalked.
Are there any household Lifehaki?
– I used to get my coffee maker before. Our Italians all come with their crotch. Once I was in Somaliland, it is a non-existent official country. Somalia – a recognized country, and Somaliland – unrecognized. For our safety, we were banned from going to go somewhere, we were constantly sitting in the four walls, we had a PlayStation and films. There I realized that The main thing is not things, and the people with whom you work, because it is how to fly to the space expedition. Nowhere to go anywhere.
How do you adapt to the local working etiquette and in general to a new culture? Does not bother Lie?
– Now I go to short missions for three to six months. The first annual missions were psychologically complex, but I was lucky with countries. It was Sierra Leone, the country is not very complex in terms of cultural shock. She struck me: all religions live in the big world with each other, Christians conclude marriages with Muslims, the holidays are held together in the church or in the mosque. It was very unusual.
In Somaliland, our women should have dressed as well as the locals – in the dresses, scarves, all close. That was really hard. Still it was impossible to walk, it was possible to ride the car from the office to the house. We had to even hide the exercise bike, because in Somalia women are forbidden to ride a bike.
As you think, for such a job you need a certain warehouse of character or anyone can adapt?
– I started riding not at least aged age. But the youth need to be prepared in advance. On the other hand, it is easier for them to get acquainted with a lot of people. For example, now I am in Haiti, and here there is where to go out, a bunch of restaurants and cafes. But When I worked in Sierra Leone, young people went crazy there because there were big restrictions. In any case, if a person feels that he does not stand, he can immediately leave.
For example, in Sierra Leone we had a sphere in the village, a small swimming pool, a court, a couple of restaurants. It was possible to walk through the jungle, go to a tropical island. The most gorgeous beaches that I saw in my life were in Sierra Leone. There are no tourists there at all. Roller "Bounty – Paradise Delight" starred there.
It was worse in Somaliland. There were places that it would be interesting to see, but by the rules of security we could not go out. The first two months somehow could move, I was even on the market in the supermarket. But even in the car with the driver, I felt not very calm.
You have the right to choose the country?
– Yes, everyone has its own manager who offers countries. Sometimes they press a little when they need a specialist with experience in a difficult country. For example, I was offered Libya. I would be interested in Libya, if before that I did not promise six months in Somaliland in a tent, and then in Mali. I’m tired of Muslim context and some time would like to be like in T-shirts. So I was offered Haiti.
In which language you work?
– depends on the country. Belgian office has francophone and English-speaking countries. India, Sierra Leone and Somaliland were English-speaking, and Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Haiti – Francate. I speak English and French free.
Where do you usually live? You are removed apartments?
– Deets again from the country. In general, we live well, sin complain. MSF try their staff to arrange better. In Sierra Leone there was no electricity, so we used the generators, and at night, so that the doctors could sleep. The houses were in principle comfortable, but they can not get anywhere from the heat. AND It was decided to lay a diesel fan for generators to use fans. Air conditioners are too powerful.
But in Mali Heat is still terrible. There they did everything so that even air conditioners install so that doctors could get out. I used to work in hot countries, but I did not expect this, it was 40-50 degrees of heat. 20 minutes – and everyone losing consciousness.
And how are things going with water?
– In the MSF, we have special water treatment programs in disaster countries. Therefore, of course, we use or our filters, or purchased water. In Haiti, this is especially important now because of cholera. During the earthquake, the cholere was delivered here, and now it is an endemic zone forecast for the next ten years.
What do you miss?
– It’s hard to ride one. Not everywhere you can go with your family, but there are many couples with children. Most often these are families where both work in MSF. They are certainly simpler, they can sign contracts for a longer time.
You will stop at some point, we will spike at home?
– At my age (51 years) it is already difficult to find anything more decent in Moscow. But thoughts, of course, attend. But for now I wonder what I do, from a professional point of view and from the point of view of the photographer: I drive to countries that are closed for tourists.
Now I realized that there should be rest between the missions. Somehow I have only a month between two missions, I was urgently asked to come from Africa to India. And there, of course, I am very tired. Now I had a break for three months. I was some time at home in Moscow, and then went with my beloved person on motorcycles in Europe. When I feel that I have already missed work, that it is time to turn on the brains – it means it’s time to go.
What skills you have acquired over the years of work?
– In India, I learned to bargain. I guess I used to be more shy. In addition, now I’m not so scary to go alone. I realized that I would not disappear anywhere, there is always a way out of any situation.
Sometimes you look at all sorts of grill in Russia and you think that for nonsense. Here people mruh like flies – from hunger, from some such simple things. Having been in Africa and seeing a real poverty, I realized that we are in fat. Poverty in Russian is very relative poverty. The worst thing is unfinished children.
Your favorite place in the world?
– Cuba. When I was last time in Haiti, I went to Cuba on vacation. There is such a place Vinyales, very picturesque. Multicolored houses, old people are sitting in a rocking chairs, smoke cigars, drink coffee and listen to music. It is not possible there. And I realized that I would also like to finish my life, sitting in a rocking chair cigar and coffee.