In life, our perceptions, interactions, and what we put out in the universe are shaped by what we inherit or acquire by genetics, education, experience, and circumstances.
For instance, the world's most delicate fragrances were created by those who mastered the art of becoming a "Nose." Don't get confused. We're all naturally born with a nose. However, a "Nose" is a perfumer who creates scents after years of learning, memorising smells, and practicing precision.
But, of course, this is just an allegory, and let's save this story for another day.
MOTIVES & CIRCUMSTANCES
It's pretty known that we inherit a set of skills and qualities and learn and hone others.
In reality, we don't need to learn how to become humane to our relatives and beloved ones. Instead, we genuinely demonstrate affection and compassion towards them, to different degrees, and without asking ourselves too many questions.
From an altruistic perspective, choosing to expand compassion and yearning to dedicate oneself to others' well-being and reduce their suffering is humanitarianism. Becoming a humanitarian, as a walk of life, is like having a real-life "Blue Badge" for being a "super humane" practitioner. For others, compelling circumstances can reveal such a calling regardless of their motives.
For the forcibly displaced by violence and conflicts, what's more authentic (or "legit") than defending those living in the same condition as them and bringing their plight to the light? Indeed, no one could do better than refugees at "smelling and formulating" practical solutions to their situation. After all, they have been through it all, and an old African proverb says, "only the ones who step on an ember are those who feel its burn."
In fact, a refugee or an uprooted person who turns into a humanitarian worker stems from a lifetime of experience and a deep place of empathy.
"I'm bringing my stone to the building. My mission is to see refugees return, enjoy their rights, and live safely, no matter who and where they are."
Said Mohamed, a refugee advocate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Mali and a former refugee who spent eight years in the M'bera refugee camp, set amid the Mauritanian desert.
Mohamed returned home after an octennial, led by his eagerness to help his community and contribute to humanitarian efforts in Mali and the Sahel. He resumed university and will obtain his master's degree in nutrition and food security this year.
Sleeping under the stars and waking up covered in sands to look for his belongings during his flight is a story Mohamed recounts anecdotally.
"I took my books with me, thinking I would only stay for a few months!"
His love for humanitarian work was a revelation for him while volunteering and working, as a refugee, with humanitarian actors operating in the M'berra camp. Yet, despite being back in Bamako, the capital of Mali, Mohamed remains far from his native land, the mystical city of Timbuktu, which remains a theatre of violence and conflicts.
His only solace lies in working hard to alleviate the condition of thousands of uprooted persons in Mali. He clings to the hopes of finding long-lasting solutions for the forcibly displaced and their deliverance from the adverse effects of conflicts.
Ten years after its outbreak, the crisis in Mali continues to keep thousands of its citizens in a safe place until their home is safer. However, fleeing violence can also lead to having enough of a protracted asylum, even if this means returning to the status quo and, therefore, in jeopardy.
Mohamed is among the 80 000 Malian refugees who have returned to Mali since 2013, while 160 000 others sporadically remain in other Sahelian countries. Indeed, the humanitarian crisis in Mali is yet to be over, and the needs are growing.
"The refugee status mustn't last. A refugee shouldn't remain one all their life.", asserted Mohamed, explaining the philosophy behind his zeal for the cause. He looks forward to putting into practice what life has taught him and serving refugees from a place of understanding.