After I put the phone down to one of my sweet thang dearests…I felt naturally dull and displaced. So I went to find a moment’s breathe on my bed, in the dark, since the generator was not yet on, before I joined the rest at the dinner dish. My eyes fall upon a stick hanging on the wall beside the head of my bed. In a slowly evolving instant I realised the sweet, exquisitely kind though absurdly stable and unwavering field co who now by definition attains adored chum status and thus to be named and he goes by the one of Daniel, on our therapeutic walk through the market the day before bought the stick, which I had just assumed was for some log construction thing. But in fact it was him concealing his plans under a camouflage of mapping and actually constructing a lamp for me made from the organics fibre reed woven pot covers that I use to decorate my room and a hanging stick. Interestingly, the same cover was one I had placed silently in his room as a gift. Altruistically he returned it but redesigned to be a bedside lamp. A great deal of meticulous work was poured into it, a lot of sneaking behinds one’s back, drillings of holes etc. Of course in the head space I'm in, I didn't notice it until 24 hours after it had been installed. So silly but it made me smile in the way that it makes you close your eyes. Of course all I needed in that one moment was to feel cared for especially after talking to my finest and it proved a fitting substitute.
This week is positive reinforcement week for the staff. That’s right. Instead of day-to-day, we decided to up the stakes. I don’t cheat when the stakes are high. I might bluff but no cheating. So as an alternative to the weekly medical meeting being about me niggling them about some or the other problem we decided to do something fun. We held a quiz show to introduce the new banderols that all caretakers of patients should wear to distinguish them. We split the group into 3 and then surprised them with a flurry of mixed medical and general knowledge questions to the ridiculous. What's the new protocol for the treatment of meningitis? What's the age of the new nurse? Name the 9 countries bordering Sudan? What's heavier 500mls of dextrose or 500mls of plasma? Normal temperature? Who is the French president? What's the major cause of maternal mortality? Etc. they responded with childish giggles and whispered guesses. I flirted between groups trying to instil a sense of importance and a sensation of wonder fused with wit. We crowned them with the banderols like princesses in a beauty pageant and then at the end gave the prizes of sugar coated Twinkies to the winners, one packet of Plumpy Nut to the runners up for a few extra micronutrients and a soap bar to the last to clean up their act. We all has fun. They even turned the tables by making the expats answer the question: when was the last MSF team on ground evacuated (15 July 2006 FYI). They shared their cookies and took their pride home to return the next day infused and soaked with novelty. What fun in Serif Umra!