Fieldset
South Sudan: Celebrate life
As her assignment in South Sudan comes to an end, Tessa reflects on the country's future and the patients, colleagues and friends she's leaving behind.
tessa and friend
My assignment in South Sudan has almost come to an end.
Looking back at this highly intense experience, I've realised that life is very hard for the people here.
Some of the patients’ facial expressions are imprinted in my memory for ever.

 

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With Loice (aka 'Mama Loice'), the South Sudanese nurse who was my rock who always supported and comforted me.
With Loice (aka 'Mama Loice'), the South Sudanese nurse who was my rock who always supported and comforted me.
 

How will this country, this region, fare in the future? Will there ever be peace? Will there ever come a day that people can lay down their head to sleep without fear?

 
I don’t have the answers.
 
 
I nest my hope in the amazing South Sudanese colleagues I have met here, who, despite everything, want to play their part in a better future.
 
I nest my hope in the amazing South Sudanese colleagues I have met here, who, despite everything, want to play their part in a better future.
 
Who are putting so much in for their fellow human beings, every day.
 
Who walk through life with their heads held high and their backs straight.
 
Who keep on celebrating life dancing under a full moon.
 
Martha carrying my suitcase on her head.

Martha carrying my suitcase on her head. Photo: Tessa Thaidens/MSF.

Martha offers to carry my red suitcase to the airplane. She walks a couple of meters ahead of me with the luggage perched on her head. I have to laugh, it’s such a funny sight to see my trusted old suitcase on top of her head.
 
Saying goodbye to some friends on the airstrip.

Saying goodbye to some friends on the airstrip. Photo: Tessa Thaidens/MSF.

That thing has followed me to so many places in the world by now: Bangladesh, Haiti, DR Congo, South Sudan and who knows what our next destination will be.
 
But first, I will go home and hug my friends and family.