MSF Blogs

by Jon Thompson on August 22, 2008

I am not sure if many of you know that MSF has a whole section dedicated to staff blogs.  I was rooting through a few and came upon this moving entry from Michael W.’s blog 40 degrees in the Sudanese shade:

30/10: The Divergent Nature of That Sunday

08:00 Road trip to Yuai cancelled.
08:15 Learn that our beloved Sudanese nurse/midwife Hellen needs to return to Khartoum for an undisclosed amount of time for personalreasons (a solid blow to the team—we just lost our African Mom).
08:45 Start playing darts with Maina.
08:50 I am either drunk or was dropped as a kid because nobody should be this bad at darts…
09:15 Canada 2 & Kenya 0 – Maina is worse at darts!
09:20 Hear screams of life-halting horror coming from our medical clinic more then 200 metres away.
09:30 Learn that a middle-aged man has passed away from unknown causes in our Inpatient Department (IPD).
10:00 The deceased is from a village over a day’s walk away, and his wife, daughter and son have no way to remove or dispose of the corpse.
10:01 It’s Sunday and we’re short staff, which in this case is the same thing as a short straw.
10:30 Nothing in my life has prepared me for this. Flies and fecal fluids have filled the middle-aged man’s tukul. He’s naked and dead and I’m breathing and confused by the simplicity of it all. I can taste the smell of death in the back of my mouth. I keep thinking the middle-aged man is going to move and it scares me a lot.
10:35 Thankfully John Yany (pronounced Yang) and a guard crawl into the tukul ahead of me and roll the middle-aged man onto a stretcher. To be honest I don’t think I could have done it.
10:45 Yany, our guard and myself pick up the emaciated middle-aged man, a pickaxe and two shovels. There is only one sandy road and it runs right through the middle of Pieri. Every step is taken with the fear that the middle-aged man is going to fall off the stretcher. We stop about half a km past the market and I’m amazed at the weight of death.

Read on…

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