Fieldset
Today I am grateful

I am tired of hearing about bomb blasts, hand grenades and shootings. I’m annoyed. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. I’m disappointed.

 

People are dying.

 

It is so normal here that people don’t even blink when they hear about another attack.

 

I am tired of hearing about bomb blasts, hand grenades and shootings. I’m annoyed. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. I’m disappointed.

 

People are dying.

 

It is so normal here that people don’t even blink when they hear about another attack.

 

I’m also becoming like that. Complacent? Desensitised? Not today though. Today I felt nauseous thinking about people dying.

 

I’m supposed to be strong. Some days I don’t feel it.

 

Today I spent the day in the office. Many have said it before me, and I will say it again: remote management is a complete drag. I wasn’t built to sit in front of a computer all day.

 

Yesterday I was out at the clinic. There were more stories of grief and loss and trauma and sadness. More stories of bravery and resilience and faith.

 

Imagine making the decision to leave your home country, the place of your birth, your childhood, your people, your land. Imagine leaving your home locked but fully furnished, with boxes and suitcases of your things that you can’t carry with you.

 

You can’t carry them with you because you are leaving on foot. You can’t travel across the mountains by car. The roads aren’t good, and even if they were, you might get stopped. Imagine that you are leaving because you are scared. Scared you will be killed. Scared your sister will be raped. Scared your brother will be shot. Imagine that before you left, you saw the dead bodies of multiple family members. Imagine these bodies weren’t intact. They were in pieces. A leg, metres away from the body it belongs to. An arm in the other direction. Imagine the fear you would have if you were to stay behind. Imagine the guilt you feel about leaving. Imagine that on your month-long trek across the mountain to safety, you have little food and water.

 

You have blisters on your feet from your shoes at the start; you have cuts on your feet from walking barefoot at the end. Imagine walking through the snow, up a steep incline, hiding in the shrubbery when you hear a blast. Just imagine that as you walk, you see small children along the way who have been abandoned by their parents because it was impossible to carry them any longer through such rough terrain and in such harsh conditions. I tried to imagine how these parents felt. But I stopped myself. It’s too painful to think about their pain.

 

The woman who told this story spoke of many more things. She is probably one of the bravest women I have ever met. Every day she wakes up and puts a smile on her face. She doesn’t want people to see her pain. But as she sat in front of me, she wept and said, “Every day I pretend to be happy, so that no-one sees the ache that has been sitting on my heart for the last 30 years.”

 

The story sounds dramatic. But the story is real. For many people, telling the story is half the healing. We can’t take the pain away completely. But we can be there for people. Be there in their sadness, their guilt and their fear.

 

Things have been tough recently. So I have decided to wake up every morning and write down something I am grateful for. It’s an attempt to keep things in perspective. I share my gratitude with the expat nurse, who has become an incredible source of support. This week I have been grateful for my health, for blankets and a warm bed, for a wonderful family, for lazy Sunday mornings in bed, for all the good people in the world. Today I am less philosophical, but equally grateful. Today I am grateful for pakoras. There is something quite comforting about the taste of spicy, battered, fried potato.