Sitting in a concrete cube, impersonal and loud with tiled floor and cinder walls that echo his fears, frustrations, and rage my friend is pacing in a provincial town in Somalia. He waits for a call that he hopes will end the worst purgatory he has ever felt. He waits for a call that will shatter his world. Will it be ne or the other, or the continuation of time stiff arming his attempts to do….something. Anything. For fuck’s sake this happens to other people, not to my people. I know these things because I know my friend. I know he will not sleep tonight, even though I told him to. I know this because I can see the green dot of presence when I incessant check facebook, just as impotently emasculated as he. For news. Of something.

No one doubts that aid work is hard. We bitch and moan about lack of food, shitty water, lack of fast internet and all the rest of it. But it is the times like this when the real shit happens. These are the times when it is truly hard. when doing your job puts your family and closest of friends at risk. Why the fuck do we do what we do? For them? For us? For a job?

I want with 95% of my soul to jump on a plane. But what on earth will that accomplish? Nothing. So instead of channeling my own rage for the angst and suffering of my friends I am left to watch the list of ‘Praying for you”s grow on a facebook wall. There is no way to reason through it. There is nothing to do. I can put my head in my hands. I can support. And that’s it.

So instead, I write this. I write about friendship. Because in aid, unlike in any other industry I know of, you forge friendships which are simply impossible in other worlds. After spending a week with someone laughing at your inability to leave the compound because the threat of terrorists attacks is too high (even for risk takers from small NGOs). After drinking yourself stupid after the most vicious of weeks imaginable. After chuckling at the little absurdities and cultural incongruities. After talking politics of a country not your own. After vacationing to the most beautiful little tucked away shitholes in the world. After wine at sunset. And dogs at dusk. After making bread, and canning peppers, and christmas dinner for all you know together. After these and a million other memories which you cherish for the rest of your life. You come to know people.

I have no thoughts which are greater than this. I have been unable to think today. My thoughts are in a place far from here. My brain is non-existent. And I wait. And I hope. And maybe, just maybe, for the first time in a long time. I pray.

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