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A Day in the Life of a Red Cross Communications Delegate in Europe

Meet, Edgar Zúñiga, an American Red Cross Ukraine Communications Delegate currently based in Budapest, Hungary. For the next year, Edgar will play an important role in sharing stories of people impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.

Every day for Edgar can look a little different, but if you’re curious to know what a typical day looks like for a Communications Delegate in Europe, here’s a peek at one of his journal entries.

Location: Chisinau, Moldova 

2:30 a.m.: Woke up for a quick virtual Red Cross meeting from Chisinau, Moldova. It was the middle of the night here vs in the U.S. I didn’t need to jump on the call but I wanted to since I find those meetings valuable.

6:30 a.m.: Woke up for real this time to start my day.

7:30 a.m.: Grabbed breakfast with the American Red Cross Head of Delegation for the Ukraine Response and walked to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) office together.

9:00 a.m.: Met for two hours with the IFRC delegation in Moldova. Here, we discussed where we will be providing services to Ukrainians for the day and what the current needs are on the ground, including the needs of the Ukrainian Red Cross. The highlight of the meeting was when an IFRC colleague brought me coffee in a beautiful Austrian Red Cross mug with the face of Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross movement.

11:00 a.m.: Drove to the office of the Crucea Ro?ie din Moldova, which means the Moldovan Red Cross Society.  

11:30 a.m. Met with the Secretary General of the Moldovan Red Cross Society. It was a very productive and insightful meeting.

1:00 p.m.: Walked over to a local Moldovan restaurant for lunch. I tried ‘zeama,’ a traditional Moldovan chicken soup for lunch. It was delicious!

1:45 p.m.: Headed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) country office in Moldova.

2:15 p.m.: We had a very productive and informative meeting about the work the ICRC is doing in the country as it relates to the Movement’s fundamental principles – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. We also learned about the importance of proper usage of the Red Cross emblem.

3:00 p.m.: Traveled to the home of a Ukrainian refugee family in Chisinau. Moldova is a small country that borders Ukraine. The native language of Moldova is Moldovan, a local variety of Romanian, but like Ukrainians, many Moldovans are native or fluent speakers of Russian. Nearly 100,000 Ukrainians have stayed in this country, in large part because they speak the same language.

3:30 p.m.: Visited with Maryna Sereda and her family along with the IFRC. They are an amazing Ukrainian refugee family with so much resilience.

4:30 p.m.: Sat in Chisinau traffic for an hour. Chisinau only has about half a million people, but rush-hour traffic is bumper-to-bumper.

5:30 p.m.: Arrived to the refugee center in Chisinau where Moldovan Red Crossers did arts and crafts with children. These children live at the refugee center with their parents. Their smiles are so bright during this event. I interviewed a Red Cross volunteer who is running the activities that day.

7:00 p.m.: Back in Chisinau traffic!

7:30 p.m.: Dinner time! I headed to a local Black Sea-themed restaurant with IFRC colleagues and we talked about our day and our work moving forward.

10:00 p.m.: I returned to the hotel – what a day! I was grateful to meet such amazing people and see our work in action. I’m so ready for another day in Moldova tomorrow before I head back to the IFRC Europe Regional Office in Budapest, Hungary – my home base for the year.

Edgar is one of the dozens of international crisis responders who have deployed on behalf of the American Red Cross to places like Moldova, Hungary, Poland and Romania to support various international Red Cross operations. To learn more about our international work specifically surrounding the Ukraine crisis, tap here.