In the past week my organization has been dealt a blow. We usually travel to X in the Fall, but there has been a serious outbreak of disease in the area. Usually organizations like the WHO or Doctors Without Borders have a timeline for containment, but in this case, no timeline exists. The disease is extremely contagious, even when symptoms aren’t showing, and can be caught through bodily fluids, including sweat. There is no cure, and also tends to have a 50-60% death rate.
Unless it gets under control, it looks like it we would be unable to go. I know I have no control over the situation. There is nothing within my power that will improve the situation.
I feel helpless and frustrated.
Having to sit and wait and watch is making my skin itch; knowing that there is nothing I can do makes me physically ache. A part of me wants to say screw the consequences and go any way.
But what good am I if I get sick? Or if I die? Death isn’t a 100% guarantee, but it’s a high enough risk to not logically risk my life to ease my impulsive desires.
Valuing my life over my organization is actually a relatively new concept for me. I know that my life and my health trump going into dangerous areas, but there is still a tiny piece of me that hasn’t been convinced. What if I completely cover myself 24/7? What if I don’t touch anyone? Isn’t it worth the risk?
Logically it’s a resounding no, but my emotions and feelings twist it into a lukewarm maybe. I don’t want to die a martyr. I don’t want to die period. But the idea of not going feels like a huge cop-out, even if the risks extremely outweigh the benefits of going.
I wish I could regale you with some grand revelation about self-worth vs. sacrifice, but the truth is I think I’ll always have a small part of me that would throw caution to the wind despite my best interests. I’m lucky that I’m surrounded by people who can knock sense into me and remind me that I know that certain risks don’t benefit me or my non-profit.
And who knows, maybe the situation will be contained, and it’ll be safe to go.