Hi! How's everybody doing in Hong Kong?

© Hartini SUGIANTO

I'm working in Bangladesh now. Before I came here I received a lot of documents about the project, from local culture, activities, to the morbidity trends. But once I started to work, I learnt that papers could not tell the whole story. Two weeks after my arrival I went with the mobile team to Kalendra village. It was raining the night before, making the track muddy and slippery. It became more difficult when we had to walk down to the bridges (I could hardly call them 'bridge'! They were only single tree trunk laid across the stream!). It took us more than two hours to walk and cross three rivers and at least three bridges before we reached the village and started the consultation. We spent the night there (we had a nice bamboo house!) for the second day consultation. On our way back we met many villagers walking back from the market (it was market day), carrying with them heavy things like rice, oil, etc. Even the children would do the same thing! For them it was a normal life, they didn't realize how hard their lives were. To reach the market they had to walk two hours, plus more hours with the local transport. What would happen if one of them suffered severe illness? "We wait for death to come", that was what the Karbari, head of the village, told me.

© Hartini SUGIANTO

This trip really made me appreciate more the work done by MSF, to establish health care services in places where nobody else would go. If you could see how the old people and small children walk barefoot on the dusty roads and cross the rivers, you would understand why. My appreciation also went to the national team for their commitment to their work. During my flight from Bangkok to Dhaka, a Bangladeshi man sitting next to me told me how grateful they were to have the NGO like MSF to help in remote places like Khagrachari, for almost nobody wanted to go there."Khagrachari? For visiting OK. For staying? May be not!" And I must tell you, that's really TRUE! It is difficult to find professionals who wish to work here; this place is too remote and too dangerous for them. What can I say - life here is certainly far from luxury!

© Hartini SUGIANTO

About the malaria field site: last month I went to Rohendra village for the opening of new MSF project. We walked a long way carrying all the materials (Drugs, books, buckets, stationary, etc). When we reached the river, it was waist high because people there put blockage to get more water for irrigation. Could you imagine how our field site worker walked through it to send the report every week? And yet they were still very motivated. I'll write more to you. Keep in touch and say “HI” to everybody! Hartini
Indonesia doctor Hartini SUGIANTO joined MSF in 2004. From December 2004, she worked in Bangladesh to provide primary health care and help running the mobile clinics.

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