Amy's Adventures in Darfur

I started this blog when I left for Darfur in June 2006. I was working as a midwife with MSF aka "Medecins Sans Frontiers" aka "Doctors without Borders" but this blog contains my own opinions and stories- not those of MSF. It is less political than I want it to be and I have been unable to post stories about certain topics due to the fact that this is on the internet and accessible to anyone. I wish I could tell you all of the stories but since I can't, I will tell you the ones that I can...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

almost done

what a weird feeling- in less than 3 days i will be boarding a helicopter and leaving habillah, then a day later i will be leaving darfur behind. this last week has been so awful on so many levels (i'll spare you the details). being here after getting out for awhile is so much harder than when i was here before. it's like frogs and boiling water. if you put a frog into boiling water it will jump out immediately. if you put a frog in cool water and start to raise the temperature, it will stay in it until it boils to death because it doesn't notice the change in its surroundings. when i first arrived here there was a peace agreement and things were relatively calm. i didn't know anyone here and had no emotional investment in the situation save that i wanted to help in some way. in the time that i have been here the war has started anew, villages are burning, civilians are dying, hundreds of thousands of people in dire need of aid are denied it because it is too dangerous for ngo's to try to reach them, aid workers are being killed, the paramilitary have been rearmed, the country has braced itself for a war against the u.n. troops, we have discovered that rather than being seen as neutral we will be seen as targets and i have had to face the reality that the people i have come to adore are in severe danger and there is nothing i can do to save them. these things happened gradually and we just accepted them as they occured. it was sort of surreal, really. i sort of knew that this wasn't normal, but i sort of just got used to it at the same time. it was only escaping it for two weeks that allowed me to get some perspective. i didn't want to come back- as humans our instinct is to survive. squashing that instinct and flying into a war zone where i knew i wasn't wanted by the people holding the guns was difficult to say the least. everything in me wanted to just drop off the carepackage and fly back out. i came back and things here were in turmoil. my staff, my team, the situation around us. i have been trying to get out for the last 4 days but haven't been able to due to the helicopter (i really do hate that helicopter). the soonest i can get out is saturday. and time is going forward so slowly it's almost going backwards.
being back here has made me realize that i have changed more than i realized. claire was anticipating me being a nutcase when we met up, but we had an amazing time and i was completely happy. it made me start to think that maybe i was going to escape this experience emotionally unscathed. oh was i wrong. after being here this last week i have come to fear being at home. in the last few days i have realized just how angry i have become. i have so much rage. i thought it was because i hated habillah and just wanted to get away, but i realize now that it's because i love habillah SO much that i am so angry. i love this place, i love these people and in 3 days i am going to hug them goodbye and never know whether or not they survive this. i will go home to my safe little world and i will leave them all behind. every day i will read the news and i will wonder. if/when habillah is attacked i might find out from msf, but not necessarily. and if i do hear of it, i still won't know who made it to chad alive, who died in the initial attack, who died along the way, who lost their parents or their children, who were raped, who watched their children or sisters or friends being raped, who saw their husbands shot in the back. some of my closest friends here would never run because that would mean leaving their vulnerable behind and they would rather die than desert their family. if/when, habillah is attacked i will know that they are gone.

soon i will be home and i will see so many of the people that i hold so dear, and i wonder how i will treat them. it could be ok- i could be so glad to be back that i am the world's greatest person to be around. or it could be awful- i could take all of the anger and frustration that i feel towards the world for not doing something here and i could take it out on those closest to me. when i came home from afghanistan i was awful- i hurt so many people that i love because i was so cold and so detached. i don't want to come home and pick fights with people that subconsciously i feel are safe to pick fights with because even if i hurt them they will still love me. if i come home and i suck, just walk away and give me time. don't feel that you have to put up with it because i'm your sister/daughter/friend and i've been through a hard experience. i want to come home and be normal, and maybe i will, but my return from afghanistan together with this last week have made me wary. i will have a lot of time to process after saturday as i will be waiting until the following thursday for my international flight. maybe it will be good for me to have time to think and reflect. or maybe i'll come home having driven myself completely insane. if any of you point out that i was insane before i even came here and can't exactly blame it on darfur, i am totally going to drop-kick you. just so you know :)


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