Thursday, February 21, 2013

The horrors of DRC and a shining light

A good friend of ours used to work for MSF, an international and independent organisation providing urgent medical care in countries for victims of war and disaster.  One of her most difficult and traumatic placements was in the Democratic Republic of Congo - a country so rammed full of natural wealth and consequently so rammed full of war and disease that if the statistics are to be stomached there lie approximately 30,000 deaths every month.  Lindsay would come and stay with us during her time off and as we drank wine she would gradually relax her shoulders and gently, in her soft Scottish lilt, tell stories of such horror that the night sky would fill with images so disturbing I would cry.

I came across this article earlier in the week and it's been looping through my mind ever since - Dennis Mukwege:  The rape surgeon of DR Congo

Lindsay saw scenes such as this and another incredible friend, Gemma (who works for Amnesty International) tells of similar horror stories, but from the jaws of Sudan.  The DRC and South Sudan both border Uganda, a country we have lived in for about 9 years.  We chose to be here because of the lifestyle, the friends, the volunteer opportunity followed by the work opportunity, but we're not naive to what could be.  In Africa you can't take your eye off the ball for a second because the ripples of conflict are only ever a beating drum away.  That's why Dr Mukwege and the women he treats are remarkable, not only for their strength and courage but for their bravery and will to survive in a country that's described as a living hell.

The DRC is a neighbour, but a forgotten one.  Dr Mukwege and the women survivors from the DRC, in fact women survivors worldwide, have made me graciously thankful for what I have and to never give up on anyone and anything.  Not even yourself.

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