You need a sense of humour to work here

The diners at the table near us looked over as we dissolved into helpless giggles. At a farewell dinner for a visiting colleague we were sharing stories of our experience working in Chad. Sometimes frustrating, often difficult and regularly tiring, you have to have a good sense of humour to keep going sometimes.

Working in an office here is never dull. It may start off as an average day but there is always an unexpected event or task that crops up and keeps you on your toes. Often the confusion caused by a cultural misunderstanding or mis-translation can cause problems, but also laughter.

My favourite for this week is the use of google translate. An invaluable tool for understanding texts, but for translation purposes it often fails miserably. According to google translate, our budget supports skinheads and goalkeepers in our field projects and an infamous email to the director mistranslated ‘cher’ (Dear), resulting in the opening line of the email reading ‘Expensive Director…’

Our security briefing document also brought a smile to my face as it reported that ‘rebels lunched attacks’ in recent weeks. I imagined some kind of colossal food fight across the border….

When things are tough and tiring, there is always something to smile about!


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