Greyshirt Reflections: Coming Home

Greyshirts Holli and AJ have recently returned from nearly three weeks in Mozambique where they have been providing life-saving aid to some of the most remote and isolated communities. They shared their thoughts about their time in this area devastated by Cyclone Idai. More teams are now in Mozambique to carry on the work of those that have returned.


HOLLI – Strike Team Leader

I leave Mozambique today, 20 days after volunteering as a disaster responder with Team Rubicon UK in the wake of Cyclone Idai.

It has been an incredible privilege to work in one of the best teams I’ve ever been part of and I’ll never forget what we have been through together. 

As a team we spent ten days self-sufficient in some of the most austere environments so that we could set up a logistics base south of the Buzi River which is now open for business and ready to serve the population of over 65,000 people – food, shelter and clean water is on its way to these people. It is such a relief to be able to say that. My team worked endlessly to get things done and build the relationships required to make this happen. This is a team effort in every way and our partners have been phenomenal.

The Mozambican people we met have made such an impact on us all. Smiling and welcoming us with open arms, putting up with a frustrating language barrier, and even sharing coconuts with us when they had absolutely nothing to spare.

The operation was toughand we encountered all manner of challenging situations that required us to be both resourceful and watchful, ready for anything. But it’s what we are made for; that’s how we know we are part of the #TRibe.

There is still so much more to be done and the need here is almost unimaginable. Areas of the country have not yet been assessed except by satellite, and it pains me to leave. The next wave of Team Rubicon Greyshirt volunteers arrives in the next two days to push into new areas and they will be gratefully welcomed by NGOs and the Mozambican people alike. 

Every experience shapes us as individuals, and my first deployment as a Strike Team Leader for Team Rubicon has opened my eyes and left me hungry to get more involved in this humanitarian world. 

There is still work to be done in Mozambique, and there will be other disasters in future. Team Rubicon UK will be ready. 


AJ – Tech Lead

I’m leaving Mozambiqueafter 20 days of chaos and hardship, heading home to rejoin the normal pace of life. I know in my heart we have done some great things here, things I will remember with pride for the rest of my life, and I know we’ve made a real difference to the lives of those affected by Cyclone Idai. I feel an unease about leaving though. The Greyshirt in me just wants to take another crack at it, to give another 20 days, to really push myself that little bit more into that exhausted frustration without hesitation.

This is the mentality of the Greyshirt. It is something that drives us all to do what we do. We put our normal lives on hold to get out into the world to help those whose own normality has been turned upside down. We embrace the austerity of the conditions; the lack of sleep, food, comfort and contact home. We shout over the voice in our heads that tells us how hard and tiring the situation is and reminds us of our home comforts because our Greyshirt voice is louder and will always drown out that weakness. 

Greyshirts are a force to be reckoned with. Op Idai has proven that ten times over. We embrace the chaos that others step back from. It’s where we thrive. It’s where we belong.


Please help us continue to deliver life-saving aid to the people of Mozambique

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