Friday, 29 May 2009

Loved ones dealing with your work - Post 39

‘Bombs are exploding all over Pakistan… Do your parents know? Have you told them that you will be going to Islamabad yet?’ asked Anita (Kacper’s very good friend from Germany) in her email. Kacper was indeed worried about how he was going to tell his family about spending 6 months in the country. They already know Kacper would be going there, and it was hard enough… Adding that Kacper would spend in Pakistan SIX MONTHS seemed like a very difficult thing to accept for people around him, so Kacper is still contemplating, when and how to reveal this information…

Kacper is quite excited about working in Pakistan again, but he does understand why his parents are worried. The media do not portrait the situation in the country very favourably, and then, it was in Pakistan that Kacper was once kidnapped (Post 19). Then, if it was not enough, his family keeps on talking about the case of a Polish engineer, who had been beheaded by the Talebans in Pakistan, just a few months ago. He realises it is difficult, and tries dealing with it too. He therefore is explaining that Islamabad is much safer than the rest of the country, that most of people are actually extremely friendly and helpful, that the security regulations of his organisations are very strict and that there is generally little likelihood that things would go wrong. These awareness campaigns usually help for some time… at least until next piece of news from the media.

Dealing with parents, friends, and people that you love is not easy, when you are far away, especially in places, where communication is not readily available. As Kacper’s mother became computer and Internet literate, it is more and more challenging explaining to her about wars, and insecurities in places where he works. She just opens online news services and finds out that there was a fighting in such and such place, and that possibly her son might have been there. As Kacper sometimes doesn’t have the same information that media in Poland broadcast, it happens that his reactions to reassure his family come too late…

‘Kacper, I think that you need to call your mother as soon as you can. I think she is worried of you…’ asked his boss in Khartoum on the radio. Kacper was in Wau, in southwestern part of Sudan. ‘Great’ he thought. ‘How am I going to do that…’ he answered. ‘The telephone here has not been working for last 10 days, and there is no way that I can get in touch with anyone overseas at the moment’ he added. ‘Can’t I call your parents and tell them that you were okey? The telephones in Khartoum work well, and I can happily do that…’ offered Pierre. ‘That would be great, except that they will not understand a word of what you say’ explained Kacper. ‘Here is what we can do though’ – an idea came to his mind. He asked Pierre to get in touch with his Polish friend, who lived in Khartoum, and give her his parents’ phone number, so that she could call and leave a message in Polish that he was fine and there was nothing to worry about.

The plan nearly worked. Magda, his Polish friend, managed to call Kacper’s mother, as instructed, but slightly too late… Worried of some fighting that erupted in southern Sudan (information acquired via Polish news), and not having news from her son, mum called the Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw demanding to find out what was happening to her son, and pressing for an evacuation for him. It was then the Polish MOFA that got in touch with Kacper’s organisation’s headquarters in Paris just to find out that he was sound and fine and that the fighting was actually quite far from where Kacper was.

The Sudan drama was long time ago, and his parents have become more experienced in dealing with their own stress since then. Also, the communication these days is much better, and it is usually possible for Kacper to maintain contacts with his loved ones even in the remotest places on earth (through satellite based systems), so things are a bit easier. This doesn’t mean that Kacper doesn’t have strategies on how to communicate and deal with his parents and family, while travelling. They vary depending on countries he is in, and on available resources around (for example people who can communicate Polish – so that they can call home, if for whatever reason Kacper is not able to do so). Also, as Kacper’s brother speaks decent English these days, things get slightly less stressful for everyone.

Travelling around to remote places has other personal consequences on lives of Kacper’s friends and on his own. He still is extremely sorry to think about his relationship that finished barely a year ago. Although, Kacper is and will be a very good friend with Dominik, who lives in Krakow, and whom he had met in Australia some years ago, their relationship just didn’t make any sense. Dominik is very domestic, and loves his lifestyle in Krakow, while Kacper simply was not ready to settle down in the city, where he thought he wouldn’t be able to find work that would interest him. Both men seemed extremely fond of one another, however thought that long-distance relationship wouldn’t work for them, and therefore decided to end it and become good friends instead.

Kacper certainly loved his job, and enjoyed challenges and lifestyle it involves. It was clear however that the older and more experienced he becomes, the more desire and need for some sort of stability he seemed to require. The day of changes in Kacper’s professional life seems to be inevitable. An unanswered question remains when and what Kacper would need to adjust in his life. Before that happens, Kacper is preparing for his trip to Islamabad!

PS. Kacper is looking out for a DHL parcel from London.


  1. Am always looking forward to your posts, makes riveting reading!!

  2. Decisions, decisions! Torn between complying with your parents' wish and your desire to do good. Decisions, decisions. I would urge caution, but then again, I'm usually cautious when it comes to conflicts. Many thanks for your tale.

    Greetings from London.

  3. Thanks guys, and yes Cuban, one needs caution when it comes to decisions.

    Hope you are both well,