Jasmine Bates is the head of Catholic Relief Services' office in Goma, a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here's a sample of her average workday:
To start the day, Jasmine checked with the United Nations to make sure her staff wouldn't be ambushed by armed groups; looked into buying klieg lights for her house—thieves have been breaking into homes assaulting women; talked with a donor about a few thousand dollars extra to help displaced Congolese.
This was all before noon. And she won't stop until late tonight.
Humanitarian work can be difficult in remote parts of Africa. Sweaty car rides, dank hotels that clatter with cockroaches, and dinners that involve sludgy sauce over rust-colored rice. It's easy to gripe about this stuff. But Jasmine loves it.
She loves cuddling Congolese kids, hugging their moms and joking with their fathers. She loves the dust and the crowds. She doesn't let the stares and poverty get to her. She's here to help. For now, she says, she can't see herself working anywhere else.
Lane Hartill is Catholic Relief Services' regional information officer for western and central Africa. He is based in Dakar, Senegal.