His name was Mustafa Fall, I knew this because it was written across the back of his army issue day pack and I followed him onto the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Dakar to Addis Ababa . As it turned out we were sharing the same bulkhead row , that is until I was relocated because of some seat mix up. It was a 9 hour flight and at the check in counter I had made my request for the more spacious bulkhead seating by standing on my tip toes and complaining about long legs and flights and smiling sweetly, but probably looking pathetic after my 3.30 am wake up. He on the other hand was gigantic, around 6’8’’ and big all over, he got the seat because they were scared he would not otherwise fit on the plane, or rip out the seat in front of him.
We said a few words in the queue on the way into the plane. Me looking up and into sharp red eyes. I swear they were red with brown centres. When I asked him about the lettering on his army issue baseball style cap he just laughed with that slow ‘He He He’ laugh that Will Smith had when he turned aliens into gloop in Men in Black. Across the back of his cap It said “We do bad things to bad people”. I can’t tell you how absolutely believable this statement was when it was on the back of the cap on the head of Mustafa. And I though now that, is a mission statement. And I wondered about ours, and when we go about our business are we INGOs as clear and believable as Mustafa – “We do good things with good people?”
Senegal to Addis September 2008