Fieldset
dream.

i had a dream last night that i was finished my mission.  i was sitting

at a table, surrounded by friends.  one said "wow, that went so

fast!".  i agreed.

i woke up to the sounds of the muezzin at 5 in the morning.  i lied in

i had a dream last night that i was finished my mission.  i was sitting

at a table, surrounded by friends.  one said "wow, that went so

fast!".  i agreed.

i woke up to the sounds of the muezzin at 5 in the morning.  i lied in

my bed, smelling the dust.  i was still in abyei.    still here.

it has been going fast.  i left canada more than a month ago.  it seems longer.  i have

seen and learned so many things.  it feels like i have been told one

hundred stories.

i wrote in my first post that i had anticipated one of the lessons i

would be taught.  "be careful what you wish for, you just might get

it".   part of my motivation for coming here, to abyei, was to test the

limits of my resolve.  i didn't anticipate they would be tested so well.

the medicine is difficult, so too the hours, so too the isolation, so

too the climate and the culture.   outside of work, the pleasures are

few.  one has to look for them under every heavy tile of his daily

routine.  there are some.  that half an hour  of cool silence in the

morning before the generator starts, the.....ummmm.....

in the pre-departure training, we are told of the well worn personal

trajectory we will likely follow in missions like this one.  we arrive

to the project full of nervous excitement.   there are so many new

things.  new faces, new routines, roles and rules.  we get to use the

radio (the coolest).   we are frenetic, and overwhelmed, but swimming

with all of our might.

this fades after a couple of weeks.  the reality of the days starts to

thicken like cement and initial momentum slows.  the new things become

old ones.  the weeks of work stretch ahead and seem insurmountable.  we

realize that this is not some exciting dash to a spectacular finish.

it is a marathon.  our mood ebbs.   one day of work bleeds into

another.

days become weeks.  soon the mid point of the mission approaches.

after three months of working seven days, we are allowed to rest for a

week.  our mood improves.  where are going to go?  tickets, and

planning, and departures.  excited, we leave the country, lie on a

beach, and sleep.   we return somewhat rested, and take another blow to

our enthusiasm.  back here again.  back in no(middle)where, treading

water.

that feeling does not last long.  days somehow find weeks again.   soon

we realize that we have have an opportunity to make a lurching step

towards progress, towards a better TB program, or a bigger feeding

centre, or having borehole finally dug.  but what we don't have is much

time.  we become frenetic again, and as the end draws nearer, we wish

it were further away.   but it isn't.  and here comes someone else,

full of nervous energy, and a new world rolls over him.

for the time being, for me, there is that half hour of silence before

the generator starts.  the sun is still down, and the roosters newly

up.   we leave our tukuls, walk quietly past one another, whisper

"morning...morning".   we go to the kitchen and boil some water, grab a

piece of warm bread, and sit on the brick wall of our communal gazebo

and look at the sky.  for a few minutes, the world seems to stretch

wide, much wider than the grass walls of compound #1.    for a minute,

we are who we are.

the clatter of the generator starts, and we stand up.  "right."  we

gulp our last bit of coffee, walk to our tukuls to put on our MSF

shirts, and grab our notebooks.  the first of the people start to

arrive for the morning meeting.   with them, the day rushes in headlong

and washes over us with so many things that we spin, breathless.

feeling a bit out of breath today.  i will find it tomorrow.  in that half an hour, before the generator starts.