South Sudan: Our international mini-village

Tessa blogs about living with her colleagues, making pizza, and house cats in their "home away from home" in South Sudan.

Tessa and the team do aerobics
Our mini-village.

Our mini-village. Photo: Tessa Thaidens/MSF.

All of us international colleagues share a living space right next to the hospital compound.
No house, flat or apartment, but a fenced-in area where everybody has their own “tukul”, a personal hut made from local materials.
It’s our own, intimate international mini-village.
The dining area.

The dining area. Photo: Joris van Oss.

At the moment the team includes two Dutchies, one Afghan, one American, two Canadians, one Slovakian, two Spaniards, one German (me!) and one Pakistani. We share a kitchen and a dining table, and we can often be found here playing games. 
During the weekend a couple of enthusiasts among us prepare something special, like pizza or a birthday cake.
Our colleague Fabry, the pizza specialist.

Our colleague Fabry, the pizza specialist. Photo: Tessa Thaidens/MSF.

We also have a separate “sports tukul”, where we do yoga, badminton or fitness. At the end of one of our sports sessions the floor is soaking in our sweat, as it’s usually about 40 to 50 degrees Celsius here!
Working out!

Working out! Photo: Tessa Thaidens/MSF.

The house cats Peeps and Felix are there to keep us company, but even more so to protect us from rats and snakes.
Sometimes we find the time on Sunday afternoons to organise a small beauty salon session: pedicures and dyeing hair while the men trim their beards.
Nurse Phil tends to his herb garden (with a little help from a friend).

Nurse Phil tends to his herb garden (with a little help from a friend). Photo: Tessa Thaidens/MSF.

Nurse Phil tends his garden and hopes to have sun flowers and fresh herbs soon.
It’s a home away from home.