I used to be able to read the clouds. I could look up and tell you their names and what they foretold. I learned that at summer camp, years ago. Looking up at the sky today in Mweso, I realized I have forgotten most of it. I long for the simplicity of those days; the wind in my hair, looking up at the clouds.
But what I am living right now is not so different. I live in close quarters with many people in a wooden building, sleep in a small bed under a mosquito net, and the mosquitoes and bed bugs are just as nasty! But this is the strangest summer camp I’ve ever been to!
I am in the 8th month of my mission. Apparently month 8 can be the hardest in a mission. I am tired. The kind of tired that doesn’t go away with sleep. Emotionally tired. Months of malaria, cholera, and 120% capacity at the hospital take its toll. But this is why I want to say thank you.
Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and a special thank you to all those who comment on it. Some of you I know, some of you I don’t, but all of you have brightened my day in some way. Sometimes I feel so tired in the morning, I think I just can’t go into the hospital. But then I read your words of encouragement and it gives be strength.
Many of you have asked me questions over the past months. I’m sorry that I can’t respond individually. But I’m hoping you will accept some general answers from me.
Some of you have asked about the patients I write about. All of them are still alive, unless I wrote otherwise. I hold on to these successes when things get tough.
You have also asked how you can help. The first way is you can donate to MSF. All MSF funds come from people like you. Without you, we couldn’t continue the work we do in so many countries. Another way to help is to share the stories you read with friends and family. You can also work for MSF. You’d be surprised by the variety of backgrounds and experiences of those I work with. Contact your local MSF office and see what you can do to help.
A special note to all those doctors and nurses, in training or long in the field, who want to work for MSF. Please do! We need so many people to run all the projects. MSF holds regular information sessions, so call your local office and attend!
And most of all, I would be honoured if you kept reading my blog. And can’t express how much it means to me.
Jen Turnbull, MD, Mweso, DRC