Episode: "The Compromise"
Full name: Christopher George Tiley
(family doctor and neurologist)
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Hobbies: Sports, music, exploring, reading, experimental
MSF Missions: Afghanistan only
What made you volunteer for MSF?
Realizing that medicine does not have borders and that we can get
very fixated with high-tech medicine instead of focusing on the
needs of poor people worldwide. Also, realizing that doctors are
numerous, spread throughout a worldwide network, and that they are
often influential in causing change.
What moment do you remember most from Afghanistan?
The first time I saw a malnourished child die
What do you think you took away from your mission?
Admiration for the Afghan people and their resilience, realizing
again that my own position is privileged… a sense of unease
at the ongoing political difficulties there. The current politics
in Afghanistan compound the difficulties in food distribution and
security, with the most marginalized taking the heaviest fallout.
I was proud to have worked for MSF.
Did the mission help you professionally?
I learned a lot about malnutrition and a return to basic medicine.
I also learned about working in a strained environment in a small
team (not always easy!)
How about on a personal level?
Personally it was great to feel that your efforts were so worthwhile.
It was interesting to find that the field of aid work is so full
of ambiguities – you can see why people want to charge in
and help but it has to be targeted in the right way, i.e. at what
is needed, not what you want to supply, what is culturally acceptable
and also sustainable. What happens when you have to go home again
What are your hopes for the population you were serving
That peace and stability is allowed to return to the country –
this is largely an internal choice and unfortunately the history
of that country is of one long skirmish.