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Nicaragua: “Transporting Food is the Hardest Part of This Job”

Carlos Ortiz works at the WFP field office in Jinotega, Nicaragua. In this interview, he summarizes his work of bringing food to those affected by hurricanes, floods and droughts so they do not go hungry. On World Humanitarian Day, Carlos tells us about the exciting and terrifying moments of his job.

1) What is your job and how would you explain it to a young child?
I’m currently working at the WFP field office in Jinotega, Nicaragua. WFP is a humanitarian assistance agency. My job is to monitor WFP programmes and make sure that schools had received the complete food cargo and in good condition, that mothers are preparing the food properly so that children eat at school. When families are affected by hurricanes, floods, droughts, I support by bringing food so they won’t go hungry.
2) What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest thing comes when we must transport food for distributions in rural communities. Overcoming all obstacles to ensure that the food arrives in good condition is no easy task.
3) What did you do before getting involved in the WFP?
I worked as a driver for a local family.
4) How did you find your way in WFP?
Someone told me that WFP had an office in the department of Matagalpa in northern Nicaragua and they were recruiting staff, so I decided to apply. I loved the idea of ​​collaborating with a UN agency, serving the most vulnerable.
5) What is your most exciting experience with WFP?
The most exciting experience was in June 2012 when I participated in the organization of the visit of the WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, to Nicaragua. It was very enriching experience, filled with challenges, and the Executive Director commended our work.
6) What is your most frightening experience?
My most frightening experience with WFP happened in 2004 when we attended the emergency after a massive landslide at the Musún Hill, in the department of Matagalpa, north of the country because of the runoff of the hill. As part of the damage assessment of damage mission to the community, I had to interview many people who had lost everything. I still remember the testimony of a man who told me how a mud avalanche snatched his family from his hands.
7) What is a humanitarian?
A humanitarian is a person who is willing to help other human beings regardless of the conditions and ideology.
8) Are you a humanitarian?
Since joining WFP I've tried to help people who need it the most in my country, so I consider myself a humanitarian.