Peer support is what we’re all about, so how lovely to receive a message from PoojaG — a prolific young blogger who writes Lifesfinewhine — saying that she nominated Missing in the Mission for something called a Liebster Award. Which is a bit like a chain letter circa 2004 but then you give it a chance and realize… it’s kinda fun.
The Liebster is given by one blogger to another. It’s not officially judged or based on any criteria other than wanting to show support, encourage newer blogs, and spice things up with some personal questions. The rules vary but in general getting a Liebster means 3 things: answering questions posed by the person who nominated you, nominating other (preferably less-established) blogs, and writing questions for them to answer.
This week’s post will be a bit different but we hope you enjoy it all the same.
1. Who inspired you to start blogging?
The very first blog I remember reading is Sleepless in Sudan, during my first overseas mission as an aid worker in Darfur. It was truly a radical thing to have a blog, even an anonymous one, in that environment. To bear witness to the things one would see and hear, in a country where this could easily get you expelled (ask Jan Pronk). It was also wonderful to read the thoughts of another aid worker so candidly. Even when I moved to a relatively isolated field location, I felt like I wasn’t alone.
2. Who is your favourite musician?
My favorite living musician is Stevie Wonder. Because he’s funky. Because of the lyrics to Master Blaster and Big Brother, and the music video for Part-time Lover (locationships much?), and his song for MLK. Because he wrote Isn’t She Lovely to celebrate the birth of his daugther, Aisha. And did this performance two days after September 11th.
Almost ten years ago, I was about to leave a Times Square music store when he walked in right by me, bodyguards and all, and started trying out keyboards. He is a lovely man.
3. What are your favourite hobbies?
Gardening, reading, conducting elaborate internet research to figure out which airplane seat will have the best views. Playing tennis with friends who are very accommodating of someone who learned a few years ago at a Nepalese hotel.
4. Who is your role model in life?
There are many. One is Brian Lehrer, who hosts a daily public radio call-in show on WNYC. For someone who basically talks for a living, he really listens. It’s obvious by the diversity of voices on the show–not only as guests but also the New Yorkers who call in and share their views–and by his talent for asking questions and facilitating conversations about some of the most polarizing issues. He helps to create community, to make policy more personal, and to hold elected officials accountable in the most basic of ways: the mayor frequently comes on to explain new initiatives and answer callers’ questions.
5. What do you blog about and why?
Missing in the Mission is a blog for and by aid workers, about the process of taking care of ourselves and each other. I started it because of my own experience with fatigue, with taking a break and re-entering aid work after an extended time off, with seeing similar struggles reflected in so many friends and colleagues. One of our biggest supports was sharing these experiences with each other. Missing in the Mission is a place to do that as openly and anonymously as one chooses.
6. Who is your favourite YouTuber?
I don’t know if he qualifies as a YouTuber, but there is a guy who gets really excited about understanding how things work. His name is Destin and his YouTube channel is SmarterEveryDay. Who doesn’t want to know what to do if you’re “Strapped into a falling helicopter”? (Episode 154, with special guest Neil deGrasse Tyson) Or why cats always land on their feet, and how astronauts on the International Space Station imitate them? (Episode 85: Space Cats!) He gets his whole family into it.
7. What is your favourite TV show?
The X-Files. Can someone please tell me how to watch the new episodes online?
8. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Is “both” a thing?
9. Who is your favourite superhero and why?
Danger Mouse, he spoke 34 languages fluently!
10. What is your favourite thing about yourself?
My curiosity. It’s gotten me into a few trouble-spots but has generally been a great way to engage with the world, to be comfortable with the unknown, and to learn from my mistakes.
11. What was your favourite subject in school?
Biology! But I did NOT feel that way about chemistry, so didn’t pursue a biology degree when I went to college. Maybe I’ll go back and do that when I’m 70 years old.
And now the best part, nominating other blogs for this award! Some are newbies, some more established, all well worth checking out.
Taggy’s Musings: A Sudanese Blog Written by Tagreed Abdin, who describes herself as, “Mother of boys (yes, there’s a difference). Architect. Sudanese. Intense. Ridiculously patriotic.”
Cassandra Complexity “A place for independent ideas, opinions, views, and discussions related to gender-based violence (especially sexual violence) in populations affected by humanitarian crises”
7 Piliers “All humanitarians dream”
Namaskaram Photography “honoring the light in all experiences”
Zara Rahman “I’m Zara; feminist, researcher, information activist”
The GAYd Worker “Stories from LGBTQ+ development and humanitarian workers around the world”
Life in Crisis “Research and Reflections on Stress and Burnout in Aid Work”
Tools for Inner Peace, run by former aid worker and international diplomat Minna Järvenpää & others, “offers restorative retreats and workshops tailored to frontline workers, run by yoga teachers and psychotherapists,” with a fledgling blog on their website
Style Can Be Taught “Advice for bringing style into your classroom, from one teacher to another.” *run by a friend & currently dormant… here’s my attempt to get her posting again!
Longreads curates and produces high quality long-form stories, like The Day My Brother Took a Life and Changed Mine Forever and 11,431 rape kits were collected and forgotten in Detroit. This is the story of one of them.
If you choose to accept the Liebster, here’s our toned-down version of the rules…
- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Answer the questions below — as few or as many as you want.
- Nominate other (preferably newer) blogs that you like and want to shower with recognition.
- Provide those bloggers with some questions of your own.
- Don’t forget to post the blue ribbon!
And our questions for you…
- Are you a closet (secret) blogger, or are you loud and proud?
- What do you blog about and why?
- What do you consider your most irrational fear?
- Who is your favorite Nobel prize winner?
- If you were asked to write a children’s book, what would the title be?
- You are stuck on a desert island and allowed to fly in three famous people (alive or historical figures brought back to life especially for this occasion) to help you pass the time. Who would they be?
- What is your favorite thing to eat or drink when you want to celebrate something?
- What is your superpower?