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, December 02, 2006


regaiya starting to fill out

this one is the second half of an email that i couldn't post. this is the part of the email that you can read....

the other woman in my life lately is one whose story is far more affirming. her name is regaiya and she's two years old. when regaiya was first admitted to our pediatric ward she haunted me for days- i would see her face before me at night as i tried to sleep, no matter how hard i tried not to think about her. she was 2 years old and was the most emaciated being i have ever seen, which is saying a lot. she was a skeleton with bones- she didn't even have the swollen belly. there was no flesh. her eyes were sunken and the skin on her face was pulled so tightly across the bones that her mouth was open in a permanent grimace. her eyes were huge in her tiny face and were the picture of suffering. each time i went into the ward i would stop to check on her progress and say hello to her mother. she started out lying, completely still, on her side, and being fed through a nasogastric tube. she never moved and couldn't sit upright. slowly, painfully slowly, she started to move a little. then, she could sit up with help. one day i walked in and she was sitting propped up in her mothers lap, holding a protein bar in her tiny hand. over the last couple of weeks she has come so far it's amazing. she's sitting without help and she's feeding herself. she's still painfully thin but she's filling out and has reached the point where it doesn't hurt to look at her. she's now caught up to the size of most of the children who come in severely malnourished. more than that, she has started to smile. i don't know that she's ever smiled before, or that she even knows what she's doing. when i tickle her feet her lips twitch, then curl up at the corners, but she looks so confused when she does it. she greets me now- i'll go up to her and put out my hand and say "salam" and the last few days she has slowly reached her hand out to hold mine. her mother, like all the mothers here, is thrilled when i take pictures of her and show her on the digital screen. i don't have any of her when she first arrived because i honestly couldn't bring myself to take her picture. it was one of those situations where you want a picture so that people can see that this is reality, but you don't want to be the one to take it. these days it is a joy to see her and to take pictures of her newly chubby cheeks. her existence, her recovery, gives me hope and reminds me of why we are here.

regaiya on her way to recovery


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