This job has it all: working in the field with communities, implementing humanitarian projects with developmental aspects, and of course, Libya
Compared with the previous times when I was in Libya, where most of my time was inside a UN compound, this time I am exploring the country and getting to know its people with a whole new perspective. I work from the field, and I live with the people and have a first-hand interaction with them.
The situation in Libya is challenging especially in light of the instable security situation in the country and lack of political cohesion. The challenge does not stop at the institutional and governmental aspects, but goes beyond that to the culture of the people as well; building trust with the Libyan community is another big challenge and an ongoing process. The exposure of Libyan communities to an international presence represented by UN or INGOs has been very limited throughout the previous decades, and it requires much effort to make a breakthrough and to gain trust and support.
Working in the field is a very interesting and educational experience, and it requires people who can adapt to difficult contexts easily and who can act properly when the situation deteriorates. Cultural sensitivity is also very important in order to gain the trust and respect of the community, and speaking the local language is of course an asset to achieve this. Although Libyan people are very welcoming and hospitable to foreigners, being able to communicate with them in their language makes them more comfortable and makes things easier.
Libya is a very beautiful country. It has endless sand beaches in the north, beautiful green mountains in the middle, and amazing gold sand desert with stunning blue oasis surrounded by palm trees in the south. The kindness of the Libyan people completes the beauty of this country. The circumstances in Libya for the last six years, leaves less space for the people to enjoy such beauty.
I was exposed to tribal clashes in Sabha, the city where I live. The clashes lasted for just over two weeks, and caused the death of 21 people. I was evacuated to another city for some time before returning to Sabha when the situation calmed down. Shortly after, when I was traveling to the capital city of Tripoli, the airplane was hijacked and we were taken to Malta.
These incidents remind us from time to time of the difficult situations where we live and work but also remind us of the need to continue working together as an international community. We must work with the people of Libya to improve the situation and to support the people who live there as much as we can until the country is finally stabilized.