this morning, during breakfast, a loudspeaker blared thick
Arabic. today was a clean up day in abyei. everyone was to
clean the space outside of their tukuls, or face consequences.
tonight the air is full of the sharp smell of plastic. fires line
the road. as you walk down it, you can see the black shadows of
people tending them flicker and dance.
on the way back to town after my run first those weeks ago, I saw a
cloud of smoke moving across the horizon. it bunched on itself,
then came loose. as it grew closer, I saw it was a flock of a
thousand birds. un marriage du ouiseau. they landed in one
tree, all one thousand, and sang.
within twenty minutes of landing on wednesday, I was stopped and
hassled by soldiers then told I had to attend the hospital because a
child found a grenade and pulled the pin.
welcome home. to the place with no face.
noone knows who abyei belongs to and noone comes from here. no
face. yet more arrive each day. the future is being
decided even now, but I can’t see it. I am too close to the
centre, and today, I can only see smoke.
there are soldiers from four different groups, and I can make no more
sense of them than I could when I arrived the first time. my
field co starts talking about recent tensions between acronyms, and I
lose the plot. thankfully, my job is in the hospital, the radius
of my life 480 paces.
the measles is settling. in shala. god willing. two
admissions yesterday to add to fifteen sweating in the
recubra. the feeding centre has grown. the
families of thin children spill out of rooms onto mats. the
girl I wrote about before, the “now you see her, now you don’t”,
is still in the hospital. I talked with ali as he waited for the wfp
plane to take him away, and he told me he saw her laugh for the first
time. I was glad to see her. I will tell more about her another
time. I’m on call today, and need to return to the hospital.
it was 46 today. people keep on saying the hot season is coming
with straight faces. I’ve started to sleep outside.