© Suan CHUA
Hi to everyone,
Christmas went by without turning white, but......
On New Year Day, luckily it was a Sunday, the sky started to look cloudy and drizzle and it soon rained cats and dogs. It was wet and so cold that the chilliness seemed to go through the bones. The road started to get muddy and flooded. Our logistics team had to dig deeper trenches. It even snowed at night time. Actually, I preferred snowing than raining as it's less wet and muddy. In such freezing weather, it was a challenge to go to the toilet and wash your hands.
On Monday, some of the tents collapsed due to the snow and the heavy rain. The health centre that I worked in was damaged. The waiting area of the centre collapsed under the snow, while the main tent was still standing fortunately. As I knew, the hospital was also flooded and some tents had leakages. There was no electricity and one of the heating which was run by diesel was also affected.
Although the health centre was not far from the base we stayed, it was so muddy and I was stuck a few times by the time I walked to the centre. My feet were all coated with thick mud. The local doctor could not come to the centre as roads became impassable, and only two staff members out of four turned up.
It rained almost the whole Monday and there was no patient who could come. By 1pm when we had lunch, I decided to close the centre for the second half of the day. However, when I went out of the tent of the centre, I could not figure out how to return to our base. It was so muddy and slippery, and as you could imagine, I slipped and got mud over my clothing. I was not hurt but it was quite problematic to have your clothes dirtied in this weather.
Fortunately, there are so many nice expats (overseas volunteers) in this team. One of them made sure that my coat was dried properly and the other provided me with Phua Chu Kang's (a famous character in a Singaporean comedy) famous boots but black in color. So now, I can trek to the health centre and back with my boots in size 9 - but my feet are only in size 5.
Though I am getting use to the weather, it is still freezing cold sometimes especially for the fingers and toes. The frozen hair standing straight on the head in the morning is one of the visible evidence.
So much for me now.
Singaporean nurse Suan CHUA joined MSF in 2003. From 2003 to 2005, she participated in the MSF emergency programmes in Liberia, South Sudan and Indonesia. In December 2005, she set off to Bagh, Pakistan for Pakistan Earthquake emergency relief work.