I first became a UN Volunteer in 2004 when I accepted an assignment with the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) as a Support Officer. I was excited about the opportunity. I still remember practically jumping from joy in my office when I received the offer. My enthusiasm was quickly dampened by the words of caution from colleagues and friends—some of them calling me crazy for being happy to land a role in a warzone.
Duekoue, Côte d’Ivoire: When I received the offer to serve as a UNV Electoral Advisor with the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB), all I knew about elections was that there were electoral campaigns and voting; and as for volunteering - I am speaking here of the program - I had only a vague idea.
The first few years were a true apprenticeship in which I was happy to learn how to do the work I had signed on for in a multicultural and diverse environment that was at times quite hostile, with regard to both my colleagues and the local population.