Everything posted here is stricktly the opinion of the poster and shall not be taken to be the official position of UNMIS, UNMISS, UN, the Norwegian Armed Forces or any other organisation whatsoever.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Farewell dinner

Over the months I've been here I've taken part in my fair share of farewell dinners - and today I was the guest of honor at the one held for my Norwegian colleague and myself. Lots of people showing up, from all the pillars in the Team Site (MLO, UNPOL, BanBat, Civil Affairs, CITS and so on) as well as a few guys from various NGOs I've been rubbing shoulders with the last year.

We held the dinner in the Blue, and he food - prepared by the cleaning staff, hijacked for the day - was plenty and tasty. After the food it was time for the speeches... and if half of what was said should be believed my Norwegian friend and myself have singlehandedly made the Team Site a better place.

I got mixed feelings about going home. On hand it's like "home, hell yeah!"... on the other hand I'm leaving behind people I've worked closely with for the last year. And while it has been times I've been wondering how people can be so incredible dense and/or stupid, for the most part we been able to put our cultural differences aside and work as a well functioning team. As people are fond to say when we have been welcoming new coworkers to Yei; we're more than a team, we're a family in Yei. And this have been made even clearer with the people who gotten redeployed to Yei from other Team Sites after July 9th - the stories they tell shows us just how lucky we been down here. Apart from an incident which took place two months before I arrived, there has been no fighting and very little argument between UNMOs - but if the stories are to be believed that is not too uncommon in other Team Sites (after all, it only takes two to fight and ruin the mood of the entire team).

I think one of the reasons why Yei have worked so well is that it's always been a small Team Site - the smallest in South Sudan - and that the officers stationed here have realized that they cannot afford to act like idiots if the team is to function. With the new, leaner mission all the Team Sites will be homes of small Teams. Hopefully the experience we have had in Yei will become common on all the sites in the future.

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