Gunshot Victims and Helicopters

WEDNESDAY
Dodging puddles and mud and a pack of dogs on the airstrip, Angie and Kristine, a nutrition worker with Medair, and I had an enjoyable run in the cool air, which lasted all day. We’re all praying it stays dry so that materials for ASAH and for JDF clinic will get through. One transport truck full of aggregate got stuck on the road on the way here from Bor. That truck is also supposed to get sand for us and retrieve our short poles from the bush.

Worse, there’s a group of gunshot victims holed up in the school. Apparently there have been two attacks in Duk County in Pajut and in Pagalong. One on June 16 where the village was attacked by Murle tribesmen armed with automatic rifles; two women killed, eight children kidnapped, and other wounded victims. The second group who are now here, were injured the 22nd and brought to the Lost Boys Clinic on Sunday night. Yesterday, a UN helicopter, which we all thought was coming to pick them up, touched down on the landing strip and lifted off again. No one knows why. The strip was a little wet in places, but the soil is sandy here—and it’s a helicopter. Maybe they didn’t want to get their boots dirty.

Anyhow, the clinic isn’t staffed or equipped to care for injuries like this. There are wounds of all kinds including fractures—many requiring surgery. All the nurses here can provide are painkillers, wound dressings and makeshift splints of cardboard. The men are laying on pieces of cloth on the concrete floor of two classrooms. I think there are 26 of them, and 17 are seriously injured. No one came for them today, either.

Angie and I went to the school to observe a couple of classes. The teachers here were receptive to her visiting. She will meet with them another day to offer some feedback and share some teaching methods. Few teachers have had more than introductory courses in teaching.

After school, Dau came by and we went over the list of orphans to determine which girls we would visit today. We selected four and set about tramping across paths both wet and dry and steering clear of thorn bush fences as we entered the yards. One of the girls was away fetching wood, but we spoke to her guardian, who is unsure whether she will let the girl come. In some cases, the girl provides needed labor for an elderly widow who might have a hard time getting along without her.

At three others we met the girls, but the guardian was away planting or cultivating. Our plan is to make home visits to all ten homes, then to invite the girls and guardians to meet with us at the school or the clinic compound, since our location is not yet ready for visitors.

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