By Leanne Olson
Those are the journals of Leanne Olson, a Canadian nurse who for 4 years labored in warfare zones world wide, supplying medication in Bosnia, helping rural hospitals in Africa, supplying reduction to humans in desire. She was once one of many first foreigners at the scene of the Mokoto bloodbath in Zaire, the place greater than 100 humans have been killed by way of machete-wielding Hutus. She spent one Christmas pinned down by way of Serbian heavy artillery with a troop of Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers. She immunized millions of youngsters in rural Liberia. and he or she has witnessed the short growth of ethnic detoxing, looking at one village after one other wiped off the face of the earth.
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Stephanie's patient, however, was brought to the hospital for a C-Section; I think she rather enjoyed her convincing performance. We got to base just past curfew. The next day, Anne and Ton returned to the police gate to sort it out. The end result was that the persons who detained us were taken out behind the station and severely beaten by the general's men. Justice, Liberian style. I had no idea that the persons responsible for stopping us would receive that punishment, and for a long time therafter it bothered me.
I had come to Liberia terrified of catching diseases that I later learned to view as minor inconveniences. I'd already had giardia, parasites, scabies and the usual 'traveller's diarrhea'. All of them are easily treatable, and none of them are too life-threatening, as opposed to malaria, which I also had the misfortune to catch. Even though I was taking my prophylactics regularly, the risk of catching malaria in Liberia is very high, and several expats had caught it. I was no exception. May something?
Even at night, the sound of the guards walking the perimeter just outside my window was a constant reminder that I was never alone. There was no such thing as a private personal relationship. The moment any relationship started, the whole expat and national staff knew all about it. As well, it was difficult to find any time for myself. Even on a Sunday, our one day off, people came to visit or to play volleyball, or the local staff would come and invite you to church with them, or somebody showed up wanting money to pay their hospital bill or asking for someone to look at their sick child.
A Cruel Paradise: Journals of an International Relief Worker by Leanne Olson