On Motherhood & Sanity


Thursday, April 5, 2012

52 reasons why you shouldn’t date an aid worker





  1. They think everyone’s been to Africa enough times to discuss which are the best and worst airports.
  2. They don’t consider you have been to a place unless you had to rent an apartment and pay utilities
  3. They think the 11 pm news are talking about them
  4. They think they understand third world problems better than the experts or the people actually living in those third world countries
  5. They think 5 years is a long term commitment
  6. They think malaria and dengue are perfectly acceptable diseases for children to be exposed to
  7. They’ve heard gun shots, and are not afraid to tell you or you parents the story
  8. They’ll try to cook you black and white pasta, with zebra meat instead of squid, and complain if they can’t find it in the market
  9. They’ve eaten snake or crocodile, or both
  10. They will celebrate strange holidays like pchung beng and expect you to know what they are talking about
  11. They’ll be constantly be comparing your home town to their last destination
  12. It doesn’t matter how hot it gets, they’ve had worse and are not afraid to tell you the story
  13. They think having parasites is normal and a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation at dinner
  14. They blog
  15. If you complain about your  internet breaking down they’ll  remind you that children in Africa have to walk for miles just to get water
  16. If you ever have relationship issues they will do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  17. They choose furniture by weight and how easy it is to dismantle
  18. They think being apart for weeks on a regular basis is normal
  19. They are strange, or at least like to think they are
  20. There are as many of them as there are poor people that they are trying to help
  21. All conversations lead to a time when they were in ….
  22. They drink and eat all kinds of weird shit just because
  23. They are always suspicious of how real or committed other aid workers are
  24. They come out last in the movies because they are trying to recover from the emotional shock
  25. They cant change a light bulb without appointing a committee and a subcommittee
  26. Tableware is always ethnic and not always easily recognizable
  27. They will question the fair trade claims of your coffee
  28. You will have to hear the origin and story of every piece of original art work in their home
  29. They can’t give birth to more than one child in the same continent
  30. Will randomly  thank you in Kiswahili or khmer, and then attempt to apologize, in Khmer or Kiswahili
  31. Read books by other aid workers
  32. They do not know how to add and subtract, but can draft a 40 page document between the main and the dessert which will make no sense to anyone other than another  aid worker
  33. Have silver card memberships and points to airlines you –or the airport authority- never heard of, and expect you to use these for your joint holidays
  34. They idolize people who nobody knows and speak of them as if they were colleagues
  35. They take pictures almost daily and expect you to be interested in them
  36. They ask your opinion about everything but  they do whatever they want
  37. Everything can be justified, even if it contradicts a previous justification or logic
  38. They never heard of excel, and are pretty convinced it does not actually exist
  39. When arguing, you will be nicknamed after some dictator you never heard of before, and won’t be able to complain without having to put up with a condescending “what do  you  mean you don’t know who he is?!”(not affectionately)
  40. Will avoid fancy shoes because their feet are accustomed to feeling free and dealing with the rough terrain
  41. They are writing a memoire and you are likely to be included, how is yet to be determined
  42. They keep an emergency bag in case they have to leave the country in fifteen minutes notice.
  43. They listen to music you have never heard of
  44. They can’t cook a normal dish, they always have to experiment with new ingredients they brought from their last trip.
  45. They do yoga and meditate, but the real kind
  46. They will attempt to read rare books of traditional indigenous tales to your children or your nephews, in the original language
  47. They’ve experienced spiritual rebirth in Asia
  48. You will never understand their gifts
  49. They see ordinary objects and laugh
  50. You can’t watch a movie with them because they will inevitable compare the movie to the real thing
  51. They are always sleepy because they work 24/7 and are regularly jet lagged
  52. When together instead of competing over who has the best car they’ll compete over who’s been to the worst ‘shit hole’.

This post was 100% inspired by Vanilla North’s post “50 reasons not to date a graphic designer”, which is funny even if you are not a graphic designer or have never dated one, it’s enough if you know one. I even tried to see how many of her points could be used and “twisted” to apply to aid workers, (and don’t get me started on how it applies to photographers…) 

Feel free to add your reasons  in the comments section.


4 comments:

Le Barbouze said...

Quite accurate and assante for the good time reading it! Juba is the worst airport btw.

Jiraffee said...

Couldn't agree more, Juba is the worst! :)

Anonymous said...

I spent three days sleeping on the coffee tables in the Addis Ababa Bole airport in the early 90's...I was so traumatized 25 years later I still evaluate every international section of an airport as to its comfort and ability to live in! Great post!

Kea leboha for the good laugh! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh god... I'm planning on leaving to Peru with Intvs.org . hopefully i'll be able to find a girl when i'll come back :P