It’s been 535 days since I blogged. Surprisingly the longer the gap, the harder it is to start, so I will begin by telling you about two major life events have taken place since I last wrote.
The first is the end of the Ebola outbreak, which was declared in November 2015. What a relief and great celebration that was! The Ebola outbreak greatly affected Sierra Leone – every sector and every person in the country was affected in one way or another. For me personally, as I wrote two years ago, Ebola became a part of daily life and it was a matter of persevering to the end.
“It seems as if an hour doesn't go by without Ebola being a part of it. Whether it is during a conversation, work at the hospital, a radio programme, an advertisement, a bucket of chlorinated bleach outside a restaurant, an ambulance with driver in a protective suit that drives by, the constant thought of not touching one's face, no personal contact, a billboard etc. Ebola has become entwined with daily life. Strangely though, when driving through Freetown things still feel fairly normal. It's a bizarre situation.”
The battle was eventually won but sadly many lives were lost and we continue to remember those who succumbed to the disease as we rebuild what was destroyed and build it back better.
The second event is my resignation in June and my final day of work as Country Director for Welbodi Partnership mid-August 2016. After spending 6 years with this great organization it was time to step down from this particular role. I loved the technical/health programming/clinical improvements side of my work but felt that more and more of my time was being taken up by the operational/organizational/management aspects such as financing, human resources, procurement and line managing. It was too hard (and impossible) to do all of that well (and in reality, two different roles anyway), and so I decided that in order to continue with what I am most passionate about I would need to resign. This is one of the biggest decisions I have ever made but possibly the best. So, I am currently unemployed – which is both great and strange at the same time – and in transition mode - I just don’t know what I am transitioning into yet! Ideally, I find another job in Sierra Leone where I can use my skills to improve maternal and child health. It may or may not include some clinical work, but I would hope it would include things like quality improvement, health programming, capacity building of healthcare workers, guideline development, supporting Ministry of Health plans, etc. (i.e. a technical focus on child health as opposed to an operational/organizational focus, if that makes sense). I am waiting for the right opportunity to present itself and in the meantime I am enjoying this transition period after a pretty intense work pattern.
This is a quick catch up for now and I will be back very soon with stories, thoughts, photos and more.