One month ago, I was in the countryside of Charleroi, a small city close to Brussels, Belgium. I was quarantined in the middle of nowhere, it was constantly raining and I spent most of my day baking bread and playing with a very cute dog, Mazzu. Today, one month later, here I am in Bogotà, Colombia.
But how did I end up here in the first place?
Let’s step back to the 2nd of December 2021. That’s the day I purchased my flight ticket to Port au Prince, Haiti, where I was going to spend 6 months interning in an international NGO working on Humanitarian Aid. I was very excited. My flight was scheduled for the 25th of January, right on time to spend Christmas with my family in Italy. I returned home, got all the vaccinations I needed, bought a lot of mosquito repellent and sunscreen protection, packed my stuff and said goodby to most of my family and friends.
But then things took a different direction. Less than a month later, when I was still digesting my new years eve dinner, three things happened:
First. The socio-political situation of Haiti got even more precarious than it had been in recent months, with violent protests and guerriglia.
Second. The organisation asked me to postpone my departure mainly due to safety reasons
Third. My flight got canceled – and entrances in the country severely restricted.
I felt very down. Frustrated. Disappointed. Entering the international cooperation domain was to me a dream come true. I have a background in International Relations, studied and lived abroad and worked for over one year in Brussels. After months of teleworking from my posh shared apartment, I felt the constant urgency of going to the field. Haiti was the perfect opportunity and everything was ready for that, I was ready. For around two weeks I was lost, I didn’t know what to do with my life. I didn’t really feel like talking about myself and my plans. What plans, by the way?
Then, however, I decided to react.
I kept in a dialogue with the organisation to navigate other possible options, and in the meanwhile, I returned to Brussels (where I had lived for the previous 1.5 years) and engaged in daily powerful conversations with cute Mazzu while baking bread.
I did some other interviews, applied for a couple of jobs and started to study Spanish. I speak Italian, English, French and a bit of Portuguese. Spanish had been on my list for quite a while and this was the time. On the side, I helped as a volunteer an NGO working with kids and women in conditions of vulnerability and kept my eyes open.
Until the day another opportunity popped up. The organisation I was going to go to Haiti with, proposed me to join the LAC regional unit based in Bogotà, Colombia. I was scared, overwhelmed and unprepared… and I accepted to fly to Bogotà.
I believe that things happen for a reason. Haiti was not meant to be, at least not now. Bogotà, beautiful Bogotà, was.