I'm struggling to close this chapter

05 May 2008

Darfur is cursed.  If it not the blistering swelter, it's the scorched earth, if it's not the hot sand at your feet , its walking along side you in a desert storm. If it's not raining sand, it's the drops of sweat rolling down your forehead that blinds you. Its either VERY hot, or VERY windy or VERY wet or VERY dry. What is VERY clear is that it's a tough and exacting place.  It sings an ancient song of sadness dusted with weather  and socio-political storms alike.  Few days left here for me, I get to return home to woolworths foods, family and friends. Here life will go on. A cruel and testing one. The sun will continue to strike and the guns will continue to run. The tribes will be tribes and cows will never be camels.  It'll be smeared with oil and those who hunt it. And it will be a periodic headline rearing its head for the world to remember. We will remember Darfur but not do much for it. it's hard to say goodbye. It feels like a fracture. You never quite heal back the way you were. The collage of Darfurians I have encountered on this brief jaunt will always make me smile. It will always make me know this place exists. Not just that it exists but that it is. It is- in all its faces, misfortunes, poverty, richness, complexity, fragility, forgottenness and austere beauty. 

With every goodbye, comes the nausea of loss. So as my replacer arrives and I try to provide the best briefing I can muster, I feel like a stranger in the place I have called home for the last 6 months. The petite dispensary, microscopic world I have inhabited feels alien again to me just as it did when I arrive. The staff have to get use to a new doctor her new prescription habits and her way. They have to have the patience to show her the way as they did me. They reveal their habits, so engrained I wonder how long we have to break the bad ones and she has to show patience too. Patience is a virtue for a reason. Im struggling to close this chapter as is evident from the glaring brevity in this post, but post mission woe settles in nicely now. I have to say goodbye to these companions and to the 4 expats I have had to share every day every meal every thought and every hour with for the last 200 days. What stroke of luck I have to have a Kenyan lass, German and Danish blokes come to be my friends. No trivial acquaintance, but a relationship built on a shared vision, strength, stories of melancholy, luxury, wounds and loads of giggles. So as I spend one of my last nights in the dispensary with a gunshot victim and child with meningitis- I know the boomerang is a sad game played in Darfur without game over potential. I shed a tear for all of it and a smile for the beautiful bambinos.