on 26 December 2013
This is an excellent book which gives background to the origins of MSF, its philosophy and the motivations of its volunteers. It is honest and does not whitewash the organisation though neither does it unduly criticise. Humanitarianism is growing; this book highlights the relevant ethics and the problems associated. Importantly, it emphasises MSF's 'added value' as an organisation that aims to maintain its neutrality by avoiding government donations unlike other major INGOs.
The descriptions and stories of the local and expat staff are vivid and well written. The motivations and inside jokes are interesting as are the differences in approach of MSF in different chapters. The experiences of expat staff are well written, not only when in the field but importantly, how they feel on their return and how they feel about MSF. Particularly real is the chapter about the 'new refrigerator syndrome' which anyone who has worked abroad could identify with.
All in all, this is a must read for anyone considering humanitarian work and for anyone who wants to understand it better. Highly recommended.
on 24 October 2009
This book gives a great insight into the world of MSF and the intricacies and realities of relief work. Written in an honest, self-depricating tone, I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in humanitarian work, a curiosity about MSF, or just looking for a good read.