What's it like living in the MSF project in Aweil, South Sudan?
1) It is very harsh compared to living in NYC
We are housed in individual sleeping huts or "tukuls". This is a 10 x 10' concrete hut with metal roof, a low door (watch your head) and low overhang of roof right outside the door. "Big" enough for a full-size bed (3" foam on a wooden platform with a mosquito net), desk (plastic square patio-like table), chair (plastic patio-like), and a roughly made cabinet. This leaves enough room to stand in the middle and get dressed. One outlet (UK) with a surge protector (EU) and a fan. There is a slightly elevated concrete/brick walkway between the tukuls and throughout the compound as the area off the walkways can be mud in the rains; I'm told that our tukuls do not flood.
We have an open-air common living/dining room area. This has a concrete floor with open sides and metal roof. Prior teams have strung up Christmas lights and hung colored buckets over the light bulbs to give it a festive atmosphere. "Couches" are concrete with 3" foam pads, tables and chairs are of the plastic patio variety. A bottle of bug spray is always within easy reach.
Our kitchen is a screened-in room where the cooks work. There is a separate screened wash room to drop off plates/cups. Wash hands twice before eating, once at the common sinks with soap, and again with chlorine water before you pick up your plates/cup for meals.
There's a common shower/latrine/sink area. Showers are one temperature that runs from lukewarm to cool. Pit toilets that have their overwhelming aroma, as well as chlorine. The four sinks are large for washing up, and one has a mirror over it (the only one on the compound). (At night, in one of the sinks there are the biggest bugs that I have ever seen...)
2) It is really good compared to MSF field projects in other parts of South Sudan:
3) It's luxurious compared to the living conditions of the local population who utilize the hospital.
Russ in Aweil. Photo: Russ Filbey / MSF.