Easy enough for me to tell my latrine sob story, but let me give an even stronger piece of advice: really, really try to avoid being a refugee in a newly created camp that only has trench latrines. As an aid worker I’m supposed to encourage all refugees to use only the designated camp latrines. Getting, and keeping, human shit away from food and clean water is about as central a public health intervention as you can get. If you can do nothing else for a bunch of displaced people living in the middle of nowhere, establish a shitting field and make sure the community leaders enforce it. As a human being, and fellow lady to many of them, however, it’s pretty hard to push the trench. Read the rest of this entry »
Timoty belongs to the Maban tribe. When he was 15 one of his lower teeth was removed, as is the custom for teenaged boys in that community. He is not part of the love triangle.
Both of my translators were an hour late for my morning meeting with the 40 outreach workers. When Timoty and Anur arrived – after I’d been desperately (and unsuccessfully) pantomiming a short message about which teams needed to fill out new HR forms for the past 45 minutes – I asked them where they had been. Anur explained that their friend had become sick in the night and they had to bring him to the traditional healer. Had they gone to the hospital first? No.
This was more than a little defeating for a couple of reasons. The first, of course, was that I had lost an hour of my meeting. The second was that a large part of the training on Saturday was about how to convince the refugees to come use our health services before going to the traditional healers. We were all on board: Sick people should come to the hospital. Yes!