After about 3 weeks of traveling with delays at every possible stop I have arrived in my new home for the next 6 months... Seleia! It is a beautiful clean country town with not too much in, and not too much out.
Approaching the town by helicopter I saw herds of sheep, goats and cows being kept by their herds on horse or donkey. A helicopter passing is big news in Seleia... this time good news. It is rare to see a vehicle, most people travel by horse, donkey or simply by foot.
I live in compound with several Tukuls (mud huts). I love my Tukul, it has a grass roof that makes up most of the structure except for the mud brick wall. I have to crawl into it since the door is only as high as my waist. I have this tukul all to myself, no animal friends this time.
My co workers are very fun. A large gazebo is the dinning room, office, meeting room etc. The compound is powered by generator for short periods of the day... the rest of the time I am without electricity. There are no phones, no TV, no internet. I am only able to access email sent to an address I share with everyone. In fact I am writing this blog via satellite during my beloved generator hours!
Life is very simple here. I was only allowed to travel with 15 kg of luggage which included some field equipment. So my clothes last for 3 days before I need to wash them.
The hospital/clinic is right next to the compound. It is managed by the Sudanese ministry of health. It consists of 4 buildings: a ward, outpatient clinic, a nutritional office, and a latrine. It is very tiny at the edge of town. The ward is two small rooms with six beds in each. One room for women and children, and the other for men. It is the role of MSF to support this hospital since referrals are no longer possible and because of the number of internally displaced people (IDP) camps in the area. MSF also has an operating room right in the compound (we call it an operating theater here, and it is very theatrical). This "theater" is also in a brick building with the examining area in a tent. I do most procedures in the tent since they don't require sterility.
So far no real surgery, just a few sutures, cast application, and a few other sick situations. Working with malnourished children is very new and complex to me. In this situation it is not always because of food shortage, but the lack of primary health care to treat pathology. Here breast feeding is the only way. But if the mother get pregnant while breast feeding... both children become at risk. I saw a women bring a herd of cattle back into town while carrying two children on a donkey, and breast feeding one. It is my impression that she may not have enough calories to breastfeed 2 children hurt goats and complete all the other responsibilities a women must do. Other children get worms in their gut who seem to eat more food then they do. Worms cause cause diarrhea and a calorie nutrient absorption issue. Even non GI issues such as pneumonia will burn up too many calories to sustain. It really is an issue that is not as simple as food shortage.
But right now someone needs the computer and the generator needs to go off. I'll write again soon.