januari 15, 2009

Today I was bouncing, rather than walking, from the dispensary back to the compound at lunch time. Well, quite a bit after lunch time, actually, as usual. Anyway, this time the balance tipped to our favour and a woman will live to see yet another day. There’s no greater satisfaction for a medic. Equally satisfying is the fact that the tetanus baby proved stronger than the toxin, after weeks in almost constant spasms she’s able to breastfeed again. Glory.            emmanuel_forsen_darfur2

As mentioned in one of the previous posts, we are providing a very basic level of treatment here, and though we are moving forward and extending the capacity of the dispensary, the provision of treatment for more or less simple conditions like dehydration, malnutrition, respiratory infections and uncomplicated malaria is what’s having the greatest impact on the health of this community. It is becoming exceedingly clear to me that when caught in despair because of one child who came and died in the emergency room, one must remember the dozens or hundreds of patients who came and lived because of the clinic that same day.

You have to play it by ear and listen to the rest of the team when learning to deal with these issues, at least in my case previous experience provided few useful tools for similar situations. At home, there’s almost always something more you can do, more resources to draw from. If there’s a spinal injury, well then somewhere not too far away there is a specialised neurosurgical unit. If there’s a respiratory failure, then there is a respirator around. Generally, the holes in the security net are much fewer and smaller. Here, you can only do what you can do, and the rest is up to luck, fate, or what other force or being you put your trust in.

The of the expression ”inshallah”, meaning ”God willing”, suddenly makes a lot of sense. Before I could dismiss this as a face of fatalism, but here things are put in a different light, especially when compared to western society which in many ways has effectively expelled the need of a divinity from of its system. In Darfur, Allah gives and Allah takes, and to the local population nothing could be more obvious.

A few trivialities to counter the deepness:

-We had grilled camel for Christmas dinner. Quite chewy.

– Crazy Camilla made amazing meatballs, what a way to earn respect from a


– My stomach is rather ok, again. We’ll see how long it lasts this time.

– It’s getting nippy here, morning showers (no hot water, obviously) are accordingly refreshing.


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