Voices of courage : Women volunteers in Mali
My name is Angela Peca and I am 30 years old. I am a proud Portuguese, born and bred in the city of Coimbra. I am also nationalized British as I have worked and lived in the city of London. I am an UNV Nurse at the Level I Clinic of MINUSMA in Timbuktu in charge of providing emergent and non-emergent healthcare to the members of the mission. Timbuktu is a hardship duty station in Mali with serious health hazards like extreme heat, wild life and terrorism threats. Life in the camp is challenging with all the threats, but at the same time, rewarding, with all the assistance from the Mission support.
I arrived in Mali seven months ago and I still remember the day of arrival with excitement. Landing in a new continent, in a new country, with a new culture and language, felt overwhelmingly exhilarant. Mali, much more than a country of warm weather, is a land of warm people. Word of advice, greeting is the best asset one can have here. MINUSMA felt like home since day one when I saw notes and coins from across the world spread across the walls of the Mission. For me, home is living in an international environment and the mission UN-doubtedly offers you that. The moment that marked me the most in the check-in process was the support of my UNV buddy which was indispensable for my integration and navigation through the system.
I applied to volunteer in the United Nations as a way to give back to the world, but in all uprightness, volunteering and UN gave me back so much more. Volunteering in MINUSMA gave me, above all, a sense of perspective -life perspective. Being in the right side of history and doing what is right. The mission is not easy but is worthwhile. And if you want to take an active role in the worldwide challenge of peacekeeping, this might well be the place for you to start.