feb 13 day 2 of briefings in geneva. my passport sits with the Sudanese embassy. there is a 90% chance I will have permission to travel by Friday. a midwife from italy, destined for the same mission, has had her visa with the embassy for weeks and still has no approval. it is important for me to get to sudan as quickly as possible. the doctor I am replacing is due to leave soon, and our paths must cross. she needs to give me the crib shit for abyei, about how to make things work.
I have learned some more about abyei. 60,000 people. it sits neatly on the border between north and south sudan, and is one of the areas where tensions are highest. a peace agreement signed in 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) has allowed this area to be governed under “joint” rule by the two signatories, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). some claim that the CPA’s Achilles heel is that it focuses to squarely on the division of resources between two groups. there is a referendum in the future that will determine whether areas like abyei will be governed by the north or the south. some suspect the peace will not hold until then.
there is much more, but I want to try and keep these short. the situation in this area of sudan, like in darfur, is very complex. it is msf’s policy to be completely independent. already there is some concern that we are being perceived as partisan. to ensure access, and for safety, it must be clear that we side only with the sick.
to the sick. I saw an outline of the hospital. and a breakdown of patients seen. lots of malaria. some malnutrition. no meningitis yet, but an outbreak is consuming the south. kits have been ordered but haven’t arrived. there was some wounded brought into the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and I have been asked to make sure there are contingencies to treat a large number at the same time, if necessary.
though I saw the outline of the hospital, i still can’t see it in mind. when I try to imagine what my day will be like a week from now, I don’t succeed. every time I try to stare at it, I ricochet off to after the mission to those familiar feelings of return. about how straight everything in geneva will seem. and square. and clean.
I have a few briefings tomorrow, and have to visit the hospital to get a final check up. I’m anticipating that it will be done in some type of amazing hi-tech 007 medical lab where anything is possible. i am going to ask to be made taller. if they refuse, I am going to ask for super hearing.