My Week: Phoebe Aranki-Stoves is moved by victims' stories

The programme manager for the Middle East at Christian Aid recounts her week

Phoebe Aranki-Stoves
Phoebe Aranki-Stoves

MONDAY: I'm in Iraq to monitor the impact that our partners' work is having on people. I have a three-hour journey to visit an isolated community of families that we're supporting, who live in houses made from mud. I have been working all weekend and am tired, but I am re-energised by the spectacular terrain of valleys, mountains and deserts. Our programme has helped the villagers to lobby to get services from their government. As a result, they now have water and electricity.

TUESDAY: I visit a partner organisation that works to combat violence against women. I hear the haunting testimonies of women who have faced unimaginable honour-based violence from their husbands and families. Many are still teenagers. Then it's off to my hotel before my flight home in the early hours, but I struggle to get any sleep.

WEDNESDAY: By 10am, I'm back home in west London, unpacking my bag into the washing machine, and grateful to have left behind the squat toilets. I go for my essential back-from-travel routine - haircut, manicure and pedicure. I sleep in the afternoon until my fiance returns home.

THURSDAY: Following a plumbing disaster that prevents me from jumping in the shower, I arrive an hour late to the office for a series of crucial Middle East strategy meetings. I spend the rest of the day in meetings. After work, I meet up with my six bridesmaids and my mother to buy dresses: I'm getting married in six months' time.

FRIDAY: I work from home on Fridays, so I plan my itinerary for a trip to the occupied Palestinian territory next week. I am half-Palestinian, so these trips home are always accompanied by a long list of things to bring back for my mother. I have a conference call with partners in Ramallah; I love that I get to speak Arabic as part of my job. My back is tense from travelling so I spend my lunch break in a spa. I end the day by packing the contents of the washing machine back into my bag for my next trip.

Christian Aid is an international development agency that helps people of all faiths

Phoebe Aranki-Stoves is programme manager for the Middle East at Christian Aid

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