Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): how to bring the conversation home

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in association with Doctors without Borders, sent an email out a day ago asking me to join an online conversation with Canadian MSF emergency coordinator Tara Newell about her work in South Sudan.  Just join the conversation.

The conversation was through an interactive webinar through Ustream.  I logged in and let this bright-eyed woman, and fellow Canadian, bring a personal account of her recent experiences living and working with refugees in the Sudan.  She wasn’t asking for donations.  She wasn’t campaigning.  She was telling me her stories and letting me into the experience — about meeting a remarkable 90 year old woman who survived the exodus to the refugee camp, about the daily sense of urgency for basic needs such as food and water, about trying to incorporate yoga into her stress management program while sharing cramped quarters with the other workers.  It felt like sitting down with a friend who had been away for a long time.

It’s a little funny if you ask me to round up what I know about MSF.  I can tell you quickly that I donated money a few years ago.  That’s probably how they know my email.  I remember their commercials.  I can remember that they are often referenced in the news when discussing international aid.

I also think of Guy Delisle‘s graphic novels / travelogues.  He’s an animator / comics guy who documents his travels through graphic novels.  His wife is a doctor for MSF.  Through Delisle’s very particular narrative style, I’ve joined him and his wife through Burma‘s and Jerusalem‘s checkpoints in a way that no news cast, reel or feed could ever deliver.

This is social news and a more effective way of bringing news about the world — home. They are talking about daily life that is suddenly not so foreign or far away.

The situation in Sudan is critical.  They need help like many people around the world, in a very daunting way.

What can one person do?  MSF just asked us to join the conversation.   And it is something to keep the conversation and those stories unforgotten and current.  More will be inevitable.

MSF CanadaSudan webinar: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/24421716



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