Hi, Kate here.
I’m a nurse, just returning from seven months in Mattar, Ethiopia, working as the Outreach Nurse Manager.
I worked on a mobile clinic, servicing the Nuer people, a displaced and vulnerable population living and moving along the border of Ethiopia and South Sudan. Our primary targets were under-fives, antenatal care and emergencies.
The people we were treating suffered from a variety of conditions such as malnutrition, malaria, TB, HIV, leprosy, sexually-transmitted infections, pre and post-natal complications, gun shots, stabbings, burns and trauma.
Firstly, I Just wanted to say a big thank you to all our donors and supporters of MSF.
After returning from the field I was blown away by all the messages left on my blog. Having no internet access and only a very expensive satellite phone, news from home was few and far between and obviously checking out the blog was all but impossible.
But, now I’m back, I wanted to tell you that while in the field the Head of Communications, Yann, sent us an email with two pages of blog comments. You have no idea how those little messages brightened our day and gave us the lift we needed to continue our work. Just knowing someone actually cared about what we were doing and appreciated our dedication to our work was a Godsend.
Conditions in Mattar were tough and very basic. I lived in a tukul made of sticks, mud and cow dung with a grass roof. We had long-drop dunnies and cold water showers. Generated power ran from 8 am to 7.30 pm.
Temperatures were in the high 40s when I arrived and after the wet season they were back in the low 40s when I left.
Food wasn’t too crash hot as no vegetables or fruit were available in Mattar and we relied upon food being brought in from Gambella, five hours away. For the last six weeks of my mission we were cut off due to flooding so, apart from the occasional fish caught in the river or very tough goat, it was pasta or rice and tomato sauce for lunch and dinner daily. (Actually, at my medical check-up last week, I was told I have a vitamin deficiency so I now know I’d better pack some multi-vitamins for the next trip!)
Anyway, it really is a privilege to work for MSF, an NGO whose ideals are so close to my heart. I worked very long and very hard to enable myself to be able to work for them, and the work I actually got to do, was everything I’d hoped for and more.
It’s challenging, physically and mentally tough, emotionally draining and at times dangerous, but all in all it really is a great experience that will push you to your boundaries and show you what you’re made of.
For the lucky ones, we saved their lives, for those not so lucky, at least we showed them someone cared. So again, thank you for your support, your donations and your care. Your kindness and generosity means as much to us working in the field as it does to those who benefit from our work. Thanks again and Bless your cotton socks!