The year is 1988 and the war between the Soviet and Mujaheddin is raging in Afghanistan. A steady stream of refugees is crossing the border to Pakistan.
One of the refugees is a thirteen-year-old boy who is walking on foot along with twelve others. They travel at night and hide during the day. They often find dead bodies in the mountains and every step they take could be their last. The number of mines in the area is countless. Sometimes they hear the helicopters and they lie down on the ground and play dead until the sound disappears into the night.
He walks for a month and the journey takes him through the Khyber Pass. The boy finally reaches the city of Peshawar, showing a piece of paper with an address to everyone he meets. In the end he finds the house where his cousin lives and where his family arrived a month earlier. His mother, father and siblings had travelled on a truck so their journey went faster.
A new life begins. The boy is growing up, worked to pay his own nursing education, graduated, worked to save money for his siblings’ education.
In 2004, he interviewed for Doctors Without Borders and got a job as a nurse. He has worked in the floods, refugee camps and under enormous risks during his time with Doctors Without Borders. He has now worked in Chaman for some years and is my closest colleague and nurse supervisor of the emergency room with me. He lives far away from his wife and two children and is constantly working for his countrymen from both sides of the border.
He and all the others who work tirelessly day in and day out for their brothers and sisters, are an inspiration to us all. They are the real heroes and I am honoured to work side by side with him and everyone else here.
I’m back in Chaman