- Posted January 15, 2013 by
Under the shadow of war
Emergency Communications Officer, Plan International, Mali
I should have arrived back in Bamako from my UK holiday break a few days ago but due to flight difficulties I got back to the country last Thursday in time to discover that the armed insurgents had advanced southwards.
I did not quite know what to expect. I was going into the country when most foreign nationals were probably on their way out, as they were frantic about the situation. I was unsure of where I would fit in this fast-changing picture.
I woke up Friday to what turned out to be a very long day. Between writing news releases and answering phone calls, I was running here, there and everywhere and multi-tasking like an octopus.
Back in mid-November, when I came for my first ever visit to Bamako I made a random and rather brief encounter which put everything into perspective and made my trip here worth it.
Under the scorching sun of a Tuesday afternoon I met a young schoolboy. I never got to know his name. He was sitting under the shade of a tree doing his homework. In the eye of this young boy I saw everything worth fighting for. I have always been passionate about children’s and women’s rights, but meeting my young stranger took my commitment to the next level. I knew after our encounter that I would go to considerable length to help ensure that his hunger to learn, his dreams to become whatever he wants, his candid and playful approach to life were met and exceeded.
In the frenzy around me, amidst news reports about the technical and strategic development of the ‘war’ in northern Mali, I am here to fight my own war. It’s part of a humanitarian war. No matter who wins the victory on the battlefield, my war is to ensure that every child on Malian soil has the opportunity to determine their own future.