Nationality

Côte d'Ivoire

Education

Bachelor of Arts, English, University of the Cocody, Cote d’Ivoire,

Attestation d’Etudes Superieures en Assistanat de Direction, Etudes Superieures de Commerce et d’Administration des Entreprises, Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet Boigny de Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire

Languages

English, French

Before me lay hundreds of packages of supplies necessary to maintain the life force of a peacekeeping mission. I tentatively pick up a large container of packaged cod. I check the color, texture, and date. All good. Back on the shelf it goes.

I push open the heavy door and am met with a blast of warmer air. I peel off my latex gloves in exchange for a clean pair. Clipboard in hand, I head over to one of my favorite sites of inspection- the fresh food department. I examine the colorful scene before me, and begin my routine. Carrots? Color: a nice robust orange, texture: firm and slightly rough. Check. Spinach? Color: a beautiful deep green, texture: crisp and slightly moist. Check. Eggs? Color: a deep ivory, texture: a bit cracked. Slightly slimy. I check the date, and find it well past its expiration. No check. I immediately report to the contractor and ask for a stop on the delivery of the item.

Since May of 2009, I have been in charge of 11 contingents, which means that I am in charge of the food that will feed 3,000 of the peacekeeping troops in Bunya. Specifically, I work in the Supply Section, which means that we must ensure that all food and bottled water being given to the troops is safe for human consumption. In this way, we play quite a necessary role in the mission. If our troops do not have food, they will not be able to efficiently maintain peace.

Feeding United Nations peacekeeping troops is an incredible honour. In 2002, civil war broke out in my homeland of Cote d’Ivoire. I saw violent acts performed against many of my people, as the rebels violently resisted the Government. All around us, insurgents were closing in from the North to the South. We could not geographically move; we were literally frozen in fear.

I was a first-hand witness to the resilience of the United Nations peacekeeping troops as they attempted to control the volatile situation and re-establish peace. I saw life lost in a troop contingent as insurgents attacked and looted a peacekeeping camp. Such images will stay with me forever; I knew those troops wanted so badly to restore the peace that I had once known in my homeland. I vowed then and there to give back in any way I could.

Today, working as a United Nations Volunteer is more than a job; it is a way for me to give back. Doing my job well on a daily basis will ensure that the peacekeeping troops in Bunya stay in good health. When I see the troops happy with meals that I know are safe and healthy, I am filled with both satisfaction and gratitude for the hard work that they do. They deserve the best food I can find.

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