The teamwork is tested to the limit in Timergara. Field workers can go to only three places in the whole duration of our mission: house, office and hospital. For this reason, the house is well equipped with amenities for comfort. Yet, there is no substitute for a good team. I was fortunate enough to have stayed with pleasant, hard working people, both veterans and first missioners like myself. Expect a multicultural mix of people from East and West, North and South. One does not have to step out of the house to have an interesting experience. Here, I learned about the customs of other countries, the cuisines, and the practices, just by observing the people in front of me. And I grew to love them, for like me, they shared an adventurous spirit and a willingness to help others.
It was the same in the hospital. I am accustomed to working in less equipped hospitals in the Philippines, so the clinical work was more or less similar. I was able to get along well with the national staff. The Pakistani people, and particularly the Pashtun, are very hospitable. They know that we expatriates might take some time to adjust to the local culture. So they try to make us feel at home and they appreciate the fact that we are helping out their people while trying to adapt to the customs.
In the end, it is the person who makes a difference. As a doctor, I represent not just myself but the whole organization and all the principles it stands for - to provide health care even in the most challenging of situations to those who need it urgently regardless of their religion, belief, and political affiliations. That is why MSF is able to stay on in this area. The people see us, and see us by the way we do our jobs. We are there to help them. Hence, it transcends the cultural boundaries, misunderstandings, and bridges people as they truly are.