Choosing the Hard: Answering the Call to Help in Tough Places
A follow up conversation with World Concern President, Nick Archer, about World Concern’s calling to hard places and situations—but not all of them.
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In this conversation with Nick Archer, he digs deeper into World Concern’s calling to work in the world’s hardest places and answers some important questions, like how World Concern decides where to work, why we don’t respond to every crisis or disaster, and why we focus our efforts outside the U.S. Plus, he recounts a harrowing journey to a part of Kenya that is so remote, he didn’t see another person for days on his trek through the desert, until he came across one young man who had a somewhat surprising request.
Choosing the Hard: Answering the Call to Help in Tough Places
Cathy Herholdt: Welcome to The End of the Road podcast. My name is Cathy and I'm your host and tour guide as we journey together to some of the most remote, challenging places on the planet. I'm so excited to have you along for the ride. So buckle up, we're going to the end of the road. I'm excited today to have Nick Archer back with us again on the podcast. Not sure if you heard him last time we talked, but he's a joy to talk with. Nick is the president of World Concern, a Christian humanitarian aid, and community development organization that's headquartered in Seattle, Washington. And Nick has been president for a couple of years now at World Concern, but he's served with the organization for more than 23 years. Nick, welcome back to the End of the Road podcast
Nick Archer: Thanks, Cathy. Good to be here again and yeah, good to chat with people.
Cathy Herholdt: So Nick, last time we were together on the podcast, we talked about some of the hard places in the world. Places that God has called World Concern and called you specifically individually to visit, to serve, and I want to go back to those hard places. I want to go back to the reason that World Concern as an organization is uniquely called to serve in remote places, hard to reach places, places that might be more dangerous or expensive, or just have really unique challenges. I think of places right now in our world like Haiti, where the government is non-existent, it's complete chaos there right now, gangs and violence rule the streets. There're earthquakes and hurricanes and natural disasters, as well as COVID and other health issues challenging the people of Haiti. I think of places like Myanmar that has basically devolved into civil war. I think of places like South Sudan and Somalia and other places that World Concern serves. These are really, really difficult places. Why the hard places? Why has World Concern chosen to serve in these places?
Nick Archer: Yeah, thanks. It's a really good question. You know, a lot of people ask that and I would say that for us, some of the two big drivers are poverty, and marginalization, if you can think of two words, those would be the two words to think about. Now, along with that, of course, our Christian identity and ethos as an organization drives us too and that's probably the overriding piece. But where it comes to really practical challenges that people face, we really look at poverty and marginalization. So that's to the degree that people can fend for themselves and make a reasonable life look for themselves.
Nick Archer: But also when you think about marginalization, it's about how are people cut off from mainstream society? What are the structures? What are the geographical boundaries that cut people off that make them distant to much of the rest of the world and how does that impact them? So those are the two words that really capture if you analyze them. Poverty and marginalization really, I would say are drivers because they in turn lead to marginalization, people are marginalized for a number of factors. And it's not just because they're poor, but even because of their tribe or their ethnicity or their clan, those things can also marginalize people. So often you have one or more factors that actually make people vulnerable and cut off from society.
Cathy Herholdt: So it sounds like it's really about reaching the unreached, reaching people that maybe are not served by other organizations or by the government of their country or the local government possibly not served by a local church. Reaching those that are forgotten by the world in many cases. Is that a calling from God, do you think? Or how does World Concern make a decision that we're going to go to this place? We're going to serve this group of people? How do we choose where we work?
Nick Archer: Yeah. So I think, first, I mean, you asked about calling, I think definitely World Concern considers that a calling. It's been part of our identity since our foundation. It's part of our DNA, it's part of our focus, and it's the air that we breathe in many ways. So how do we choose? You know, we look at some of those factors, we look at poverty levels. How poor are people? People talk about today, does the society live or does a community live on a $1 a day, or do they live on $2 a day? Those are considered some of the benchmark's name. So we look at things like that. We look at conflict, are people seriously impacted by conflict in some way? And does that exacerbate their situation?
Nick Archer: And again, along with that, it goes to some of the points that I made earlier. It's what sort of access do they have to different things that we would consider absolutely essential? So say clean water, do they have access to clean water? Do they have reasonable means of actually sustaining themselves? You know, today we are hearing so much about climate change and things like that. What are the drivers that are affecting people and diminishing their quality of life and how do we step into that space? Can we be part of the solution? So those are some of the key things, obviously, conflict is a big one. Poverty is a big one, but are there other factors? You talk about being far away from government reach.
Nick Archer: Okay. I mean, even here in our own country, we have battles between do the rural communities in the US have access to what many of us in cities would consider essential services? Well, the same dynamic plays out in many parts of the world. The governments often deal with problems that are often centered around cities and urban populations, large towns, and often rural communities get really left out. So in an urban setting people want piped water. Is access to water really a priority for many, many rural areas in the world by the governments?
Nick Archer: And if I have to say, honestly, it probably isn't, although it's a desire and economics mitigate against that. So do we step into that and say, well, are there other solutions? And so those are some of the factors that we look at when we decide where to work. It's not always about distance. You can think, as you mentioned, Haiti right now is in a really very, very difficult space, which is very, very complicated with many factors. So you don't have to be a long way from anywhere to have a problem, but often people being far away from urban centers in very, very remote places, those are often repetitive drivers.
Cathy Herholdt: That's really interesting. So the end of the road is not necessarily a village out in the middle of nowhere in Africa, it could be urban poverty, it could be a community or people living in a large city like Port-au-Prince or Nairobi or something like that where they just continue to be in need and don't have access to even to some of those basic things, including safety. And so World Concern considers the end of the road just a place of great need it sounds like. So poverty levels and access to basic necessities are definitely in the mix there in terms of consideration.
Nick Archer: Yeah. I can think of a couple of examples just by contrast. We can look at work that we're doing in Nairobi in the city right now, which we're doing, it's very, very urban work, but it's with the youth who are very much impoverished and have not been fully in the educational system. They have very few avenues for meaningful work. So what does that do for them? Does that drive them to crime? Does that drive them to drug abuse? Or can we do something there which changes their story that gives them a hope of a future that they can carve out for themselves? But then you contrast that with, for example, a place like Darfur. So 10 or 15 years ago Darfur four was very much in the news because there was a very big conflict over there.
Nick Archer: Darfur is a long, long way from anywhere. And I mean a really long way but out there you see, you have a tribal conflict of people where several different ethnic groups are all fighting over the same space, but it's an area a long way from the government's influence and often the government's interest. And again, you have a different kind of marginalization, a different kind of story that we're looking to step into. Those are two very opposite examples when you talk about the end of the road.
Cathy Herholdt: Interesting. So in some of the places where World Concern serves people have fled conflict, they are internally displaced within their own country or they're refugees from another country. So they're not always living in their home village. So people ask sometimes, it's hard to wrap our heads around living in North America and in the Western world. It's hard to wrap our heads around being in so much need and living in a place like let's take Somalia for example, in very drought-prone regions where nothing grows. There's no food for livestock. There's no food for people. There's no water that's not contaminated or too salty for human consumption. Some people ask why don't those people just move? Why do they stay in a place like that? And you and I can kind of chuckle about that.
Nick Archer: Yeah.
Cathy Herholdt: But I think it's an honest question. So what are some of the things that factor into people either up and leaving in a crisis or a conflict, or being unable to leave a place that is perpetually difficult and challenging to live in?
Nick Archer: Yeah. That's a really good question. And we could do several podcasts on that issue alone, but I mean, we can think about it. We can try and put ourselves in their shoes too, but we can also, even in our own country find other examples of people that we should say, well, maybe they ought to move, but do we want to move? I mean, in North America and no one wants to tell us to move. There're many things we don't want to give up because of where we live. But anyway, going back to a better illustration, for the listeners who might be familiar with scripture, if you read, if you read the stories in the early part of Genesis about Abraham in ice and Jacob moving around with their animals, while there're many places in the world that are really still like that today, they move around and they move around looking for two or three things.
Nick Archer: They look for pasture, they look for water. Those two things. If you are an animal keeper, if you are a pastoralist, those are the two big drivers of your existence, okay? That's what puts food on the table. That's what puts a roof over your head. So when those things become increasingly scarce, people have to move to find them. That's what pastoralists do. They move because their animals are their livelihood. So conflict results often because of that, because then you get people who are clashing over the use of very limited resources, land, and water. And if a pastoralist loses those things, he loses his entire livelihood, he loses in entire livelihood. You know, in North America we talk about the disappearance of certain industries. We could say, well, why don't you just retrain? Hey, get another job.
Nick Archer: People don't want to do that. It's their idea and it's who they are. You think about changes in Western society with things like the industrial revolution and people migrated off the land to industrial cities. You know, these are all social changes and so simply to say to a pastoralist, well, quit your lifestyle, give up your animals and go in and run a store or take up farming. Well, people are agriculturists because they're good at it. Or people are pastors because they're good at it. And you can't all of a sudden just flip a switch and tell somebody to, okay, get a life, move somewhere else and get another job.
Nick Archer: And what you do see happen increasingly today is that situations where pastoralists, as an example, are forced to give up pastoralism simply because their animals are dying off and they actually lose their livelihood. They end up most frequently being refugees, or they're being displaced on the edge of a big city with no work. And then at that point, when they lose their animals, they're reduced to poverty because of that fact, they've lost their livelihood. And then you see, there are no food stamps to help them out. There's no government social network to fill a hole. They are truly destitute and just scratching for any kind of avenue to put food on the table.
Cathy Herholdt: Yeah, that's really interesting. One of the things I love about World Concern is the fact that we go with people because it's not safe to stay in their village or their community or the region that they're in, they for whatever reason feel like in order to survive, they have to leave or migrate or move. We often go with them, and I remember hearing about a cluster of villages in South Sudan where there was cattle rating going on, where a different tribes are coming into the village at night and stealing cattle which is their only source of food and income and only livelihood there and creates a tremendous amount of conflict and people are killed over it. It's really heartbreaking and sad.
Cathy Herholdt: And so some families had to grab what they and flee in the middle of the night. And they ended up going to another village that was also part of working with World Concern in the process of transformation and development and were able to be hosted by that other village until it was safe to go back home. And that's always the goal, isn't it? Eventually to get people to the point where they can go back home and have the tools and be equipped to survive in their home community.
Nick Archer: Yeah. I think in some cases, the objective definitely is to have people go back to where they came from to restart their livelihoods. So World Concern has done some of that in the past, particularly, in Eastern Chad and Darfur, we've done a little of that, but I think the other side of it is in some cases, going back becomes increasingly not an option. Either because the livelihood that they once knew is no longer feasible or because the conflict that they've gotten wrapped up in has become so entrenched that to go back would actually to basically walk into a death trap. So I think where we can, World Concern engages in things like trying to help people learn different skills.
Nick Archer: So it could be something as basic as bicycle repair or auto mechanics, or carpentry, particularly young people who maybe have no access to school because that service just doesn't exist where they are and helping them find a means of employment in the skill development, which actually provides in an income for the family. So that's one way that we address that. Obviously, in other cases, if people can move back, then we try and support them in that. But, obviously, it's context-specific and you have to look at the factors in each case.
Cathy Herholdt: Yeah. It makes me think of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who fled just extreme violence in Myanmar. And many of them, hundreds of thousands of them are still living in the refugee camps in Coxes, bizarre in that area. And World Concern is still there training young women with sewing skills, training the men and offering education, even English-speaking classes, things like that. But we're also working in the host communities around that surround those refugee camps and supporting them as well, because they've been impacted by this massive influx of people that weren't there before. And also knowing that people can't survive in a refugee camp forever. Although some people do live most of their life in a refugee camp, but it's certainly not ideal. And so preparing those surrounding areas and communities to possibly someday be a new home for those Rohingya refugees. So that's another example I think of going wherever the need is greatest and serving those folks. So yeah. Any thoughts on that particular crisis or what's needed there?
Nick Archer: Yes, I think migration, I mean, I think we're all familiar with migration there. We're refugees, we talk about immigration, all sorts of dynamics around people movements, and the example you quote or you give there is a really classic example because you have a very needy population who for no reason of their own are forced to find refuge in another country or in another area which is unfamiliar to them. And they're often going into places where the resources are already stretched, where the people who normally live there, that's their home, they're already scratching for a living. And so you have this conflict with refugees and displacement, which is really hard to unravel. So World Concern does indeed do things like sewing classes that you suggest. Even teaching English as a second language gives people an opportunity for employment, which they couldn't have otherwise.
Nick Archer: So with the whole issue of immigration and what happens because of it, we need to look at the reasons that drive those situations and try and have a level of compassion and understanding is to say, rather than just sort of dismiss those things out of hand to say, but what can we really do to assist and to mitigate the impacts of what are going on here? So in Bangladesh, we work both with the Rohingya who are the displaced and the local population who were themselves asking, well, hey, what about me? You know, what resources am I getting? These people are coming in and they're getting all this assistance, but what about me? And who's looking out for me? And these dynamics are playing out in our own country too. You know, when a lot of us ask the same questions about resources, but behind all those things, you have to ask what's going on? What are the drivers and can we try and understand that and look at it with an eye of compassion?
Cathy Herholdt: It's interesting going back to what we were first talking about. Sometimes a crisis is the reason that World Concern will start in a new area. There's either a natural disaster or a conflict, or a massive movement of people, or a crisis where we say, hey, we feel called that situation is so horrific and there's so many people in need. We feel called to respond to that. I do remember when the decision was made to respond to the Rohingya crisis. And although oral concern has worked in Bangladesh for many, many years, that particular area and that particular people group we had not yet reached but I do remember the conversations of just the heartbreaking need and situation there that we felt called to help.
Nick Archer: Yeah. I can give you another example too really quickly. And many people will think about or remember the Asian tsunami of 2004, which took place on the day after Christmas. What happened there had a far-reaching impact. And it ended up resulting in us working in Sri Lanka. So from the end of 2004, and we only really wrapped up our work there probably a couple of years ago. And in fact, we're still working there through a local partner.
Nick Archer: So there you have an example of a humanitarian or a natural disaster, which the consequences of the waves, the tsunami that resulted destroyed thousands or hundreds of livelihoods and communities on the Eastern coastline of Sri Lanka and that impacted at the same time where there was a longstanding civil war going on. So you just have multiple levels that pile in on people at different times, and you have to look at well, what's the most strategic thing that we can do right now in this place to give people a hope and give them a future? Something to believe in and something to say they're not forgotten. So another example of how we are trying to address those kinds of situations.
Cathy Herholdt: And conversely, there are a lot of crises that's happening around the world and as an organization, World Concern doesn't have the capacity to respond to every one of them. And yet we do have people that ask sometimes, why are you not helping in that situation? Or people just call and want to help and say are you responding to whatever it is, the earthquake in Ecuador or whatever. And so there are a certain criterion that you look at as the leader of the organization to determine whether or not World Concern will respond. So just real quick, what are some of those criteria where we might not go to a certain area?
Nick Archer: Yeah, good question. So right now World Concern either directly or through a partner is working in 13 countries. So if a major crisis, a major disaster happens in one of those places, then that's top of World Concerns priority list in terms of should we respond? What would we do if we did? Because it's important that whilst we work in disaster, we're also working in long-term strategies to change people's stories so that they can mitigate disasters when they come along. But if a crisis happens outside of those 13 countries that we're already working in, then we look at issues of severity.
Nick Archer: We look at issues of numbers, how many people have been impacted? What was destroyed? And then we make a decision to say, well, do we actually get involved here, and do we do something very specifically? We also work with a number of other partners like-minded organizations like ourselves. And then sometimes those organizations will pull their resources and collectively say, okay, we need to work in this place right now. This is needed, but we can pull our resources and collectively work in a place that we weren't previously working in. So there are a number of layers to actually deciding whether or not we actually get involved or no
Cathy Herholdt: I want to just pause for a moment and thank our listeners for joining us today. If you're just hearing about World Concern for the first time, and you're curious to learn a little bit more about who we are and what sets us apart from other organizations you might be familiar with, please visit worldconcern.org/podcast, and learn a little bit more about what we do. And now let's get back to our conversation.
Cathy Herholdt: A couple of things that I have learned at my time serving with World Concern that I didn't realize before and I'm not sure that people do realize, but one of them is how important it is to coordinate with those partners or with other organizations that are on the ground so that we're not coming in and actually creating more chaos in an already chaotic situation. We're not overlapping with services or ways that we're responding. And the other thing that was really interesting to me is that the local government actually has to invite international aid. They have to say, we cannot handle this ourselves and we need your help. If they don't do that, then we don't go into that situation unless they ask for it. If they've got the capacity to respond themselves, then that's the first line, isn't it?
Nick Archer: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's increasingly the case. More and more governments feel it's their responsibility to respond to their own crisis, which is absolutely as it should be, but they will from time to time invite outside organizations in like ourselves. But we do wait for the invitation to come and coordination is something that we absolutely have to work on and keep working on to get better at it. You know, humanitarian organizations have often been criticized for not coordinating. Either coordinating with one another or with the local government, but that's something that we really put a lot of effort into.
Nick Archer: You know, I mentioned a few minutes ago about the partners that we have, like-minded partners that we work with, we try and coordinate both our funding and the activities that we do. So if more than one of us is working in the same place, we try and do different things so that we're not all trying to do the same thing in our own way. But to actually coordinate our assistance so that one of us is working on one aspect, maybe shelter, somebody could be working on medical-related issues, things like that. But coordination is absolutely central to the way when we go into a place to actually participate in who's going in there? What are they doing? And that kind of thing.
Cathy Herholdt: So this issue of availability of resources, government assistance, the ability of a local government to respond. It brings me back to a question I was thinking when we were first talking about how World Concern chooses to work in a certain area. And a question we get a lot from people is why we don't serve domestically in the US when there's a disaster or when there's a need or a crisis in the US? You know, we have people that say there's poverty right here at home. Why is World Concern not responding? So what's your response to that question when you get that?
Nick Archer: Yeah. And that's a valid question. Going back to something I said right at the beginning, World Concern has been in existence for over 60 years, and we've always seen it as our primary mission, our primary calling to work internationally. That was a decision that we made many, many years ago and we don't feel we've had any need to revisit that. Along with that, we do have partners who work domestically, and sometimes we will in some way support them in their domestic response, because we do get people who want to give and whether it's a different situation that happen in this country. So we will tend to use a partner that we're already familiar with who we know that does good work.
Nick Archer: But every organization needs to focus in order to be effective in what they do. And for us, our lens is international work. It's not that there aren't needs at home. Absolutely there are needs at home here in the US, but there are also many, many organizations also already working here in the US. Red Cross, Salvation Army, many, many, many domestic organizations. And so that's part of their mandate, ours is the international lens. And so that's where we keep our focus.
Cathy Herholdt: Yeah. So thinking a little more, I want to dig in a little bit more to some of the hard places in the world, because I think they're difficult for some people to really imagine what makes these places so challenging. Some people have traveled internationally. Some people have been to poor countries and seen what life in these places looks like. But again, World Concern is uniquely called to some of the most challenging, the poorest, the hardest to reach places in the world. And so you've traveled a lot. You've lived and worked in some of these places, but when you think about it, I like to ask folks, what's the hardest place you've been when you think about your travels with World Concern or even before your time with World Concern. What would you say was, wow, that was by far the toughest place I've been and why?
Nick Archer: Yeah. That's a good question which is not always easy for me to answer because a thousand images come to my mind when we say that. You can think about geography and many years ago we had some work in Northern Kenya that was to do with actually a pastoralist group actually. And they had lost a lot of animals because of a previous drought and we were doing a program that's called restocking, whereby you help them pine put their herds back together so they don't descend into poverty. Anyway, I was visiting them and it's in the Northern part of Kenya. And I had to travel from basically from East to West across the Northern edge of the Chalbi Desert if you look on the Chalbi Desert on a map. There were no roads there. Okay. There were no roads there.
Nick Archer: Absolutely no roads. I started this particular part of the journey just north of the town, Marsabit, and to get to the next town, I had to have a guide. There were no signposts. There were no roads. You were just driving across the desert. So what you did is you hired a local guide, some guy who needed some work for the day and you said we're going to go to this next town. And then he gets in the car with you and off you go. And we traveled all day, I think we traveled about 10 hours. We met nobody. I mean, nobody on the way, not a single person until we got to the town we were staying up that night and the town is called North Horr. H-O-R-R, you can look at that on the map. So we traveled from Marsabit a bit to North Horr and did not see a single person. And I was driving, me and another guy we were driving, and you didn't know where you were going. You just had no idea where you were going.
Cathy Herholdt: No GPS at that time? No roads, no road signs?
Nick Archer: No roads, no road signs, nothing like that.
Cathy Herholdt: So you're just out in the Bush and in the dirt.
Nick Archer: Exactly.
Cathy Herholdt: And you could easily lose your sense of direction. I see why that local guide is important.
Nick Archer: Yeah.
Cathy Herholdt: No gas stations and rest areas I'm assuming, but yeah. So what do you do for fuel? You can't go 10 hours without refueling.
Nick Archer: You just have to carry extra fuel with you because you know you're not going to run into a gas station and you know you're not going to run into food or water, so you have to carry food and water and you have to anticipate the fact that you might get stuck. You know, if you had a breakdown or something like that. And then you get to where you were going, which is what we did, we got to North Horr and then we gave the guy two or three days wages and some bus fare and he went then and took the bus. And the buses, there's very few buses, there's one or two buses a week. And he caught that bus back home and that was a good income for him. So North Horr was a pretty good size time.
Nick Archer: But from there we had to keep going west and there was a bit of a road at that point of the journey. But again, we met one person in between. We drove all day and met one person. And interestingly, he didn't ask for money, didn't ask for food, he asked for one thing, do you know what it was? Water. He wanted water. So that illustrates to me the remoteness of the place and the scarcity of what is needed for survival. And he was there because he was herding some camels. And so you run under these herds of camels from time to time and that's what his work was. And he was the only person we saw. So in two days, apart from the time that we stayed at overnight, we didn't see a single person except for that one man on the road for two days. So this is about remoteness. That's about remoteness.
Cathy Herholdt: Yeah. Yeah. So when you got to the area outside the town where you were going to be working, I mean describe the landscape and the people and how they lived and what did it look like and feel like out there?
Nick Archer: Well, the place where we were doing the restocking, it was just a vast area of Bush. Scrub, a little bit of, a lot of acacia trees, which are very common in that part of Africa. And we actually slept out under the stars during the night because there was nowhere else to stay. It's not like there's a big hotel there. Why would there be a hotel there? There're no visitors. You know, if you're going to run a hotel you need customers. So there's nobody up there. And so we had already brought a little bit of food with us and we could cook that up and we ate with the local tribe in the evening. They cooked a goat. You know, we witnessed them trying to make their life back together.
Nick Archer: They would dig really unbelievably deep wells to reach water. And we watched these people who were digging a well and the well must have been, I don't know how deep it was in terms of meters or feet, but I know that there were about 10... The depth was about 10 people because there were like 10 people digging this well from top to bottom, bringing out soil and stuff and trying to reach water. So we stayed just outside of their community overnight, ate with them in the evening, which was just goat roasted over the fire. And yeah, practically it was camping out with people that you don't know.
Cathy Herholdt: Yeah, yeah. That sounds really extreme. Other than the people that you met that were digging the wells, was there a particular person you met in that area that stands out in your memory?
Nick Archer: Probably not easily, but the guy that asked for water I think stood out more because we were just driving on this really... I mean, it was a dirt track. Don't think of it as a road with blacktop, that was nonexistent. We hadn't seen blacktop in days, frankly. And so it was a rocky track that we were driving along and then this man there, in fact, he wasn't even a man, he was a young boy, just stood out to me, here's this guy in the middle of nowhere and I suppose he could have been aggressive towards us. He could have been any one of the number of things, but he just really politely asked, did we have any water?
Nick Archer: I wasn't expecting that question. I was expecting a request for money or for food, but no. And you realize out there that life really hangs by a thread for many people. Now they're a lot more resilient than we are. They can survive without many of the amenities that you and I take for granted. But nevertheless, their life is really on a much thinner ledge than the most of ours. We have so many backup plans and backup resources. Out there you don't have backup in that in the same way. You're dependent upon other people. You're dependent upon the weather to be a bit predictable. You're dependent on the fact that you have somewhere, a wider community looking after you, but you're exposed to wild animals. You could easily break your leg and it would take days before somebody would even find you.
Nick Archer: And so you just really realize that for so many people, their margin, what I call, I use the word margins a lot, their margins for survival and existence are much finer than ours. And if one or two of those things doesn't pan out, they're in real trouble because they don't have the parachutes that you and I have. And so I think meeting that young man has always stood out in my life, because I thought wow, here am I in the middle of absolutely nowhere and this guy just wants a cup of water, it's all he wants.
Cathy Herholdt: Wow. That's incredible. I mean, it really does just make you realize that just the absolute basic necessities and you were probably an answer to prayer for him that day.
Nick Archer: Yes.
Cathy Herholdt: If he was reaching the end of dehydration and feeling like, okay, I need to find some water here and along comes this vehicle with a white guy with a British accent in it and he sees that this is potentially his answer and prayer to just have a little bit of water. Yeah, you're right, that's not the kind of challenge that most people think of on a road trip or even going on a mission trip with your church to a difficult place. There's people there that are ready to help if somebody gets sick or gets injured or something like that.
Cathy Herholdt: But no, in my travels with World Concern, I've had some of those same thoughts. What would I do if I rolled my ankle out here and couldn't walk? We've walked for three hours to get to the village that we were planning to go to and what if I rolled my ankle and couldn't walk back? I suppose my friends would carry me, but things like that are... I got sick one time in Samburu, in another region of Kenya. I've never felt so alone or concerned. I stayed behind in just a simple concrete room at the guest house that we were staying at and it had nothing but a bed in it. I had no internet connection or a way to call someone if I needed it. Obviously, the team left me with some water and some food and stuff like that.
Cathy Herholdt: But I just remember thinking, gosh, I'm really alone way out here and if this took a turn for the worse, what would I do? And then my next thought was, this is how people live all the time in this part of the world. They have to be thinking from one moment to the next how am I going to deal with this moment's crisis or the need that I'm facing right now in front of me? It's really a hard concept for us with so many resources to wrap our heads around. And so part of what World Concern does is try to help people prepare for potentially issues that are ahead. Is that right?
Nick Archer: Yeah. And I think, prepare particularly for when those issues that they rely on starts collapse or fall apart. A bit like I was talking earlier about the pastoralists and the two issues of water and food for the animals. What do you do to help people mitigate if those things start to go seriously wrong? Many of those people we work with are resilient in their own right. I mean, you and I, you're absolutely right, you and I would be completely hopeless because we don't know how to survive and we panic when a lot of our backup mechanisms are no longer there. But our work is about helping people when they reach the point where the systems that they rely on and the things that they rely on are no longer in place or they're no longer working the way they used to work. And helping them navigate that and continuing to have a life of freedom and a future, and at least food on the table and a roof over your head.
Cathy Herholdt: Well, Nick, this has been absolutely fascinating today to hear about some of your experiences and some of your thoughts and some of the places that World Concern serves and that you've been. We're going to continue our conversation with Nick in future episodes on the podcast here. We're going to hear about some of the other places that he's been to, people he's met, experiences he's had way beyond the end of the road, but for today, it's been a great pleasure to talk with you, Nick. Thanks again for being on The End of the Road podcast.
Nick Archer: Thank you, Cathy.
Cathy Herholdt: I want to thank our listeners for joining us today. I hope that your mind has been opened up a little bit. Your heart has been touched through some of the stories that you have heard today. As I mentioned earlier, if you're curious about learning a little bit more about World Concern, about our work beyond the end of the road, you can visit worldconcern.org/podcast to learn more. I want to thank CRISTA Ministries, World Concerns parent organization for making this podcast possible. And I also want to thank Casey Helmick and the whole team at Terraferma for their production and editing and consulting expertise for helping us bring these stories to life and bring them to you. Thanks again for joining us today. We look forward to more stories at The End of the Road next time.