The Most Dangerous Job on Earth

Oxfam aid delivery, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, July 2018. Credit: Duoi Ampilan

My Dear Diary,

Here I am again, talking to you straight from the bottom of my heart.

As we move closer to World Humanitarian Day on 19 August, I think deeper about our Humanitarian Work. I have realized that I have gone far and wide.

I have experienced the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat in this work.

It is said to be the Most Dangerous Job on Earth because we are always at the forefront of the humanitarian crises; oftentimes at the mouth of the disasters; at the front lines in conflict- affected areas.

Every year, we celebrate (and we lament, too!) the World Humanitarian Day to raise more awareness on different relevant advocacies. We remember those who perished in the name of service. We empathize for those who keep raising the torch of humanitarian work high enough. We campaign for more protection for our aid workers and we advocate for more support to ensure that we respond timely to serve those who need most our support.

Dear Diary, I get appreciation for our work. I also hear devil’s advocates to leave this work because of the embedded risks and the discomforts that we bear.

I am not the epitome of this work; not the best performer and may not be the ideal one. But, I am glad and my heart is full of gratitude because I got this chance to be of service to others.

Not everyone is given this opportunity. Many were called but only few were chosen.

Humanitarian work is a survival of the fittest. I have witnessed those who chose came and gone for many reasons — family, career, fear, exhaustion, illness and death.

It seems that I never knew what brought me here but I know that I love this work despite all its pains and discomforts.

I may not have served the longest but I know that I tried to give the best of me. I tried to put all my heart to what I did.

Duoi Ampilan, with Oxfam hygiene kit, Yemen. Photo: Omar Algunaid/Oxfam

Dear Diary, Whenever I reminisce my deployments in some of the most difficult and even most dangerous places to work, I feel happy that I have survived this far.

I can’t forget my humble beginning in the conflict zone in Mindanao.

I shall forever remember how I survived South Sudan during my neophyte stage as a global staff. In my 12 months of work in a remote place in Warrap State, I thought I would never reached home again. I was stung by scorpions twice. I contracted malaria and typhoid fever on top of the bodily maladies. I faced the hazards of working in an insecure place. Whenever I heard of a tribe attacking another tribe, I was scared to go to sleep as if every night was the last one.

At first, I refused to join the Ebola Response out of fear — the horror of not coming back home because of the viral tragic attacks. But because I am committed to my work, like others, I defied my fears and joined the team both in Liberia and Sierra Leone. I had the social stigma. Nobody wanted to embrace use, not even sitting beside us when I finished my mission. People were also scared of my coming from the Ebola affected countries.

Among the most thrilling yet equally uncertain was my work in Afghanistan. I was fearing the blasts, the attacks and how we flew over mountains with small aircraft that could crash anytime.

Yemen gave me the sweet success and bitterness of loss my Dear Diary. I lost my father while I was trapped by the insecurities in Aden. On the same season, I was among the 6 global nominees for the 2017 Bond’s International Humanitarian Award. I didn’t win the coveted award but the nomination was a crowning glory already and a saving grace for my dwindling energy.

During the Pakistan Flood Response, I was terrified when my passport was among those that were affected for the close down of many government offices when Osama bin Laden was killed. There was high tensions all over the country and I didn’t have my passport with me. There were many last minute packing up of things due to threats.

I experienced the longest walk in the highlands of Nepal during the earthquake response to reach the last mile in delivering our support. Crossing the landslide areas and experiencing tremors in the middle of the night were unforgettable.

Among my favorite is my deployment to my motherland, the Philippines after the onslaught of the strongest typhoon, Haiyan. I was able to serve my countrymen.

Recently, I was sent to Bangladesh to support our Rohingya Response. I experienced being with the refugees and felt their pangs in the world’s largest camps.

I know that I could have stayed longer but due to funding constraints, I had to leave and wait for another deployment.

My Dear Diary, whatever tomorrow stores for me, I am ready to continue my journey and I hope to see you there, too.

Duoi Ampilan, Oxfam Humanitarian Officer
In a domestic airport

This World Humanitarian Day, at Oxfam, we celebrate all our dedicated and brave staff and local partners, who have helped us reach more than 10 million people with humanitarian aid last year. And to all our supporters who have made this possible — Thank You!

Read more about, and support, our humanitarian work.



Oxfam is a world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty.

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Oxfam International

Oxfam is a world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty.