Trapped in “the field”

IMG_4666 Among my 7 resolutions for 2015 there is one about writing blog posts more regularly. I did not promise myself to do it in english, for three main reasons: 1. I write and speak my (it)english all day; 2. most of the blog followers-if not all- are italian; 3. writing is a therapy for me and I do not feel I can fully express the random complexity of my thoughts and feelings in english. No matter what, here we are…..

Why do we humanitarians use the word “the field”? As I stop and think about it I use this word really often. “I am going back to the field”, “my colleagues are going to a field visit”. In the humanitarian gergo the field is where you implement your activities, where you reach your beneficiaries, most of the time remote or insicure areas, IDP or refugee camps, border areas or just towns in area of conflict or hit by a natural disaster. Field recalls many things: a battlefield, a field where a peasant work. It is not the best word tough for describing what we do, we work with humans we do not go to the field- in the far far bush- but we do go to visit beneficiaries in project areas. We go to listen, assess, bring help, witness, advocate. Sometimes field is used to express the bush, a duty station with really terrible conditions but in the most of cases we have a concrete wall around us a desk and water, a basic but decent life. Indiana Jones or Bear are tv stars not humanitarian workers.

I think I will continue to use the word “field” because I am used to but I wonder, do we humanitarians get lost and trapped in our gergo? Yes we do, we should remember to stay human.

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