Staff capture some quintessential WFP moments in our staff photo, video and story competition. The three winners for this newly-launched initiative are:
- Sneha Lata who works in WFP's Bangladesh office. She won the photo competition with the above picture of a woman eating WFP's High Energy Biscuits.
- Eva Stoffels is a TNT trainee in the Burkina Faso office. She won the video competition.Video
- Anthony Freeman the winner of the story competition, is a logistics officer in WFP Kenya office.
Story competition winner - WFP vrs. fatherhood by Anthony Freeman
Anthony Freeman, a logistics officer in Kenya, describes his mission to the north-west of the country shortly after post-election violence broke out, separating him from his three children.
On 4 January, a colleague and I are outside Nairobi’s chicest coffee establishment waiting for our military escort to up-
Maybe I’ll get back for my daughter’s seventh birthday in early February…
The whole thing is quite surreal. Kenya is a country I know well. My three children were all born here, seven of my 13 years with WFP have been spent here and so the thought of travelling under escort leaves me with a disturbing question: what is to become of my beloved second home?
A third Java House coffee leaves a bitter but satisfying taste in my mouth as we push off in convoy, two army Land Rovers at top and tail.
The road we take leads to my marital ancestors’ home. In fact, part of my reason for volunteering for this mission is to see my children.
They have spent Christmas with their grandmother in Kitale, and due to the violence and chaos which has erupted since the 27 December election, they have been virtual prisoners, trapped in their homeland but separated from their father. It has been 14 days so far…
Eldoret is a rural hinterland, Kenya’s breadbasket for cereal production. Only now it’s become a centre of political and tribal division.
"Bewildered and scared"
Our role in Eldoret is to support the Kenya Red Cross (KRC) and it soon becomes evident that as each day rolls by, more and more displaced people are moving from their homes and farms to the relative safety of churches and police stations.
Gathering in their thousands, carrying whatever they have managed to salvage from burning homes, they wait bewildered and scared, confused by the panic and fear forced upon them by neighbours, fellow Kenyans they have lived and worked amongst for years – for many, their entire lives. Out on a field trip, I get an opportunity to see my children.
A phone call leads to a brief rendezvous at a filling station. Twenty minutes of contact, our first in 17 days - full-time WFP, part-time father!
UN Security had raised the security level to Phase 3, meaning we are still using military escorts. My boys think it’s pretty cool that I have my own armed escort. Twelve soldiers squeezed into two Land Rovers can’t be comfortable though!
By now, everyone wants numbers! Logistics want tonnage figures, Programming wants numbers of displaced people, Monitoring & Evaluation want a breakdown of children under five and breast feeding mothers, public information want a split - what WFP has done versus the work of KRC.
OCHA wants it all, in its entirety, but of course in a different format! A report in the local media has more than one million tonnes distributed so far! (Think someone made a slight error between tonnes and grams - back to the abacus!).
I’ve been requested to stay on for another week - standard operating procedure when on mission, hey? My kids are still in Kitale, but need to get to Nairobi to start school.
Make or break
An unsuspecting UNICEF colleague also needs to travel urgently. Little does he know what he’s in for: five hours with my tribe will either make or break you.
Another fleeting visit: 10 minutes in the hotel car park. Hugs and kisses and they’re off, leaving me – the anxious father – waiting to hear that they have arrived safely.
Again, it’s numbers but this time we are ready. Our teams have been out and completed rapid assessments; women and children are accounted for, COMPAS is up and running with warehouse reports on a daily basis. OCHA?
Well, OCHA has come up with a new format, but we’ll cut and paste something for them. As for my kids, well they are back at school coping without their dad, who’s just been informed that he’ll be in Eldoret for a while longer. Maybe I’ll get back for my daughter’s seventh birthday in early February…