One day during Easter I came home and found package of chocolate eggs and a stuffed bunny on my desk.
It was a lovely surprise from my partner who knows my weakness for anything made out of chocolate. The chocolates did not last for long, but the bunny, sadly, had to spend weeks on my desk, somewhat abandoned.
The bunny himself. Photo: Dr Theresa Aluma/MSF
One day I decided that the bunny deserved a better fate than that, so I took him along to the clinic in Epworth where MSF supports the treatment of people with HIV. He got a new home in the family clinic room where we counsel our youngest patients. This turned out to be a good decision.
The bunny has become our probably most beloved staff member.
Many of the child patients want to hold him, and some take him in their arms as soon as they enter the consultation room. They hug him, play with him, and make him jump and climb on the parent and the clinic furniture.
The bunny does an important job in breaking the ice with shyer children; at times it is easier to start the discussion with the counsellor with a little help from the bunny.
Sometimes children want to take the bunny along with them home, but the counsellor then explains them that the clinic is the bunny’s home and he would be unhappy if he would be taken away from his home where he can play with so many friends every day. The children usually accept this reasoning and carefully place him on the desk and wave him goodbye.
He will be waiting for them there to give them joy on their next visit.