My minds racing at nineteen to the dozen. Reuniting with a friend first met on an Architecture Sans Frontières Building Communities workshop in Japan has had me hankering for life on the open road. He’s out in Haiti working as an architect for Save the Children and experiences shared over drinks are inspirational. Brilliant to see someone tackling work in this difficult and often bureaucratically bound sector without losing sight of the big picture and the need to drive change.
To call international development challenging is to undercook the situation. Take just one contentious issue to bring perspective: Balancing the need to be seen to be making progress with donations with the length of time it takes to engage with a new community and discover their real needs and how as built environment professionals we are best placed to help.
Fascinating to hear the differences between life as an NGO employee at the disaster relief end of a mission compared to my own experiences of being one of the last three buleh in Aceh. When disaster strikes communities masses descend to do what they can, forging their own community in the process.
Motivating to witness these people reunited at recent events. An evening with SPONGE and conference at CENDEP provided sounding boards for exploring the remote role of professionals. How these people may be best placed to address the need to create standards, learn from past efforts and drive collaboration. There’s lots to be done. On that note, I’m going to be working with Architecture for Humanity over the coming months, hopefully a learning curve for us all.
So, whilst I miss the Aceh community that took me under its wing with their celebrations of life, right now it’s time to become engrossed by London’s offerings.