Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
TITLE: Darfur 1986
By Gloria Pierre Dean
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I was a young single RN bored with my job and looking for adventure when the news of the Chadian refugees hit the news. The year was 1986. and there was a severe refugee crisis in the Northern Darfur region of Sudan. Chadian had fled their war torn country and found refuge in the neighboring country of Sudan. The media images showed thousands of people in need of help. My heart was touched. I had never seen such misery. At a hospital Christian Fellowship we were told that a camp had been set up by the UNHCR. Volunteers were needed.
I truly believe that the Holy Spirit and the influence of a friend who volunteered increased my interest. It sounded like an adventure and what an adventure it turned out to be!
Church Missionary Society of London was recruiting and volunteers with medical, administrative and nursing experience to go to Sudan. There were interviews and out of a larger group of volunteers, twelve of us were selected to go from the UK. We underwent weeks of basic theoretical training in London and had vaccines.
The flight to Khartoum was a blur. I recall the group sitting on luggage in the hottest airport in the world, awaiting clearance. We were eventually picked up and taken to our guest house.
A few days later we were flown to Nyala where we lived with missionaries. There was a peace and tranquility about the compound that I will never forget and will ever be grateful to God for. Days later we were driven along dry sandy unevenly unpaved roads to the refugee camp where we lived in mud huts.
In the Darfur camp the midday temperature was daily above 110 degrees. There were no shade trees, no clean running water and hunger and starvation was rampant.
Within weeks there was a team of nutritionist, doctors, nurses, and a manager primarily from World Vision. Others had arrived from Australia, Holland and the U.K. Our lead nurse and doctors determined strategy and methods to best prioritize the nutritional and medical needs of the refugees.
The grace of God was very obvious in the area of provision. We had daily prayer meetings and Bible studies and at night we sang songs and hymns around open fires whenever we could. This fed our souls and spirit. There were two nurses who played musical instruments; one a flute and the other a guitar. Mail arrived weekly by a small airplane.
Within the first two weeks of arrival we had an outbreak of diarrhea in the camp. It was Cholera.
A makeshift hospital was set up. The nurses and doctors helped in the hospital. We administered intravenous fluids and family members were instructed as to the best way to dispose of fecal waste. Cholera was spread by contaminated water. Wells had been dug by World Vision far away from the camp.
As I recall the manager found boxes in the storeroom containing Intravenous fluid, IV administration sets and needles. I believe God allowed this. These were vital for the hydration of patients. These supplies lasted for as long as the Cholera did.; when the epidemic ended, so did the IV fluids. After Cholera I was put in charge of 'community' teaching in the area of latrine hygiene, with the help of translators. The camp's goal was to prevent fly borne illnesses especially in children.
The local Sudanese people fascinated me. In local homes we were treated very graciously and offered a drink call 'chi' which is sweet concentrated hot tea. Meals were served on large round trays. Everyone sat around the tray. After hand washing everyone would help themselves to food using the right hand only.
The local `souk' was about one mile away across the dry riverbed or `wadi'. We bought souvenirs, many of which we were told were obtained from nomadic merchants . The camels or `the ship of the desert' is an amazing creation. We loved watching them as they ran or loped along the sandy desert.
On the rare occasions when it rained, the wadi filled up and the women used the water to irrigate land close by and grow vegetables.
In the area of personal necessities I had packed what I felt I would need for one year in Sudan. My personal hygiene items did not run out. I recall my time in Sudan as a positive one because the grace and provision of God was evident in so many ways.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.