The project coordinator and I share a prefabricated building. The buildings we use are actually fantastic. I'm very grateful to the team who set up this project for the nice buildings they handed over. It's good to share a building with the PC as things run smoothly when the PC and the log* work as a close team. One of the few downsides of being so close are overhearing conversations like I did last week. The Medical Coordinator, visiting from the capital city, and the PC were talking out the database we record information on and the categories that we have to put our clients into:
"......with a finger, penis or object...."
"......knife, gun or other weapon........"
"......imprisoned for 1 to 2 days, 2 to 4 days or more than 4 days......."
It's enough to give you nightmares. Fortunately, it doesn't although, I did have a crazy dream last night about our VHF radios not working and being unable to contact our security guards.
On Monday I saw the police pull up outside. I went to meet them - we always emphasize to people that we are doctors, not lawyers. Doctors not prosecutors. Doctors not moral judges. We keep a distance from all these things. We are neutral. So we keep a distance from the police, but also try to encourage a good working relationship. So it's complex and best for a supervisor to meet them when they arrive. They came to deliver a patient to us. He apologizes that they ran out of official forms so he hands me a piece of scrap paper with the patient referral written on it. I fold it without reading it, the logistician doesn't need to know her story and I'm sure she is tired of telling people, but he starts to tells me - "she has been raped by 6 men," We don't need to talk about these details in the clinic entrance and I'm not sure how to handle hearing her story like this, so I try to interrupt his story to get her to the medics as quickly as possible.
*Log is the MSF standard abbreviation of "logistician," Not only do I have the misfortunate to be known as a log, but because I'm in the city of Lae, I'm the "Lae Log". For anyone reading this who speaks English as a second/third language - in English "lay" means "not important" and "log" can mean a variety of things, some nicer examples being a lump of wood, some of the more informal interpretations I would not be allowed to write about on an MSF website.