'I approach my work with zeal'
'I approach my work with zeal'
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Abinash Nayak from India. I am 29 years old and my hobbies are listening to instrumental music, playing the guitar and gardening.
How long have you been a peacekeeper and what are your responsibilities?
I joined the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) in May 2019 and was deployed as a peacekeeper in North Kivu province. My primary responsibilities are to protect civilians and maintain peace in our area of responsibility. Depending on the situation, we also assist local authorities during elections, support the restoration of the state authority in remote areas, and promote social and economic recovery and development through various civil-military cooperation activities.
Why did you choose this carrier and how did you become peacekeeper?
I always aspired to join the military and serve my country since my schooldays. The immense satisfaction this job gives me is like no other job in the world, in my eyes. I became a peacekeeper when my Battalion was selected for a UN Mission under MONUSCO. We then underwent pre-induction training in India. After validation, we were then inducted to the mission as peacekeepers. My motivation to become a peacekeeper was driven by the desire to gain new experience and enhance my professional knowledge and skills.
Describe what your typical day is like?
My days here are full of learning experiences and every day is different from the previous one because we are serving in a very volatile area in the DRC. As a Mechanised Infantry Officer, my day usually starts at around 5.00 a.m. when I take morning reports from all the section commanders of the Mechanised Infantry Platoon. This is normally followed by morning security drills, including area sanitisation around the Company Base.
I then brief my platoon second-in-command about the day schedule which includes all the operational, training and administrative activities of the day, then I conduct daily tactical training for one hour.
After all this done, I carry out day patrols and sometimes we conduct joint patrolling with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and the Congolese National Police (PNC) to assess the security situation in the area around.
In the evenings, I play basketball or volleyball with the rest of the troops to keep myself physically and mentally fit.
What are the highlights of your service at the present peacekeeping mission and what are the 3 things you like most about the country you are based?
As a peacekeeper, one of our core principles is to always have the utmost respect for cultural diversity and humanity during our operations and to also create good relations with other peacekeepers so that we can work together as a team with a shared vision to protect the most vulnerable.
What I like about DRC?
There are three things I like about the DRC: First, the resilience of the people. Despite facing numerous problems, people here are always happy to assist one another. It is this undying spirit that has kept the country going during all those turmoil years. Secondly, I like Congolese music: it is as lively as the people, very energetic. It shows the strong faith of the Congolese in the future of their country. Thirdly, the weather is pleasant, and the landscapes are beautiful and refreshing.
What part of your job do you find more challenging and why?
There are two aspects of my job I find challenging. Firstly, adapting to a multi-cultural work environment. MONUSCO is composed of people from across the world with different work culture and ethics, as well as different religions and beliefs. We all approach situations differently. It is important for me to adapt to this versatile environment and work well with others as a unit to produce the best possible results.
Secondly, meeting the aspirations of the local population. MONUSCO is not only a stabilising force, but in all these years it has become a symbol of hope and relief for the local communities during conflicts, disasters or epidemics. The Congolese look at us with great hope to fulfill their aspirations. To further bolster the image of MONUSCO, I always work with full zeal and I have to be always ready to deal with any situation.
What does your family and friends think about you leaving your home country and working as a peacekeeper?
My family and friends are proud of me as they are aware of the situation in the DRC. They know that I am working for a noble cause. As a military officer, my personnel motto is "Duty before self" and coming from a military background my family understands this.
What do you do when you have some spare time?
I like to play guitar or listen to instrumental music.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself working with the same zeal and enthusiasm. Professionally, I will be more experienced, having acquired more knowledge and skills.
What would you say to young people considering a carrier in peacekeeping?
I would strongly urge young people to work hard and to always give their best and also seek to enhance their professional and personal capabilities.