#28 Helicopter Rides
This post was submitted by N.V.
The Expat Aid Worker enjoys many a form of local travel, (see drivers), but for establishing field cred, nothing beats a UN helicopter ride to a remote village, preferably one on the far edges of a volatile country that shares a border with another, even more volatile country.
A helicopter ride is an undeniably exciting experience but the EAW should save any public displays of excitement for their facebook status updates and blog entries. Any overt displays, such as asking to see the cockpit, taking pictures, waving back to the throngs of children whose quiet villages you have just descended upon, even staring too intently out the window are all dead giveaways of the novice aid worker.
The seasoned EAW will nonchalantly don the noise-absorbing headphones and busy himself with his pen and notebook, staring out the window only while deep in thought over the project proposal in his lap “Hmmm, is this Training of Trainers Women’s Capacity Building workshop an activity or an output?” If you are a Country Director and not sure everyone on the helicopter knows this, you may want to sleep through the whole ride then loudly proclaim upon landing while stretching and staring around, semi-bewildered, that you “haven’t napped in the middle of the day in years!”
Bonus points: motorcycle picks you up at the landing and drives you through the village to the project site.
Super Bonus points: you got drunk off home-brewed vodka with the Russian pilot at the previous night’s aid worker party, thus enabling you to update your FB status to “…flew to Nunnatumba on a UN helicopter today! Ummm… glad the pilot wasn’t as hungover as I was!!”