“This really feels, in a nice way, like it’s payback time.”
“How did I end up here, three days from leaving the comforts and love of my family home for South Sudan, the most unstable country in the world?”
“I didn’t experience one single day of peace since I arrived. But I am happy because I shared with the people the uncertainty, the insecurity, the suffering, and the little joy that every day life gives us.” – Sister Laura
“Somehow, today seems to encapsulate some of the many challenges, frustrations, opportunities, and hopes of this young country within the walls of St. Therese Hospital, Nzara. For every beautiful smile, a vacant stare, for every piece of good news, a rifle shot.”
“It’s a sobering workload that the team have dealt with in the past day, two ectopic pregnancies, two post-natal hemorrhage, an ante-natal hemorrhage and cesarean section, and a molar pregnancy. Every one of these women would have likely died if they had remained in the community.”
“Kerima lives in one of the most unstable countries in the world—the third poorest—where access to even basic medical supplies can be limited.”
“Thank you, Gloria. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for—I don’t know what I’m sorry for—the state of the world perhaps.”
“120 days to go. I’ll keep going, doing my best, and try to remember each and every day how lucky I am to be here; how lucky I am to choose to be here: the privilege of choice and opportunity.”
“But the people, they just go on; they exist. Life is here.”
“The days of his life are precious. And I am grateful for having shared one day with him, one day of despair and then relief. It means so little but so much.”
“But it’s not really a numbers’ game. It’s about stories; relationships, successes, failures. I still think about some of the kids I saved and some of the kids I didn’t.”
Nine months ago, I arrived in Africa, in South Sudan, to work as a volunteer doctor at a small mission hospital, St Theresa, Nzara. Today I have bid farewell to the hospital, to the staff, to my family there.
Spending time serving in South Sudan as a doctor has reminded me of the most basic identity, being alive, and the most simple expression, living free of disease, the human right to life.