First Aid

May 28 and 29

The traveler who is still here in Duk Payuel with me, Jessica Wunderlich, fell sick. A videographer, she is here to help us tell our story. She had been suffering from intestinal distress for a few days, and the clinic suggested the proper course of medications for her symptoms. After a couple of days, they agreed she could take the Cipro she brought from the US. Unfortunately, she took it on an empty stomach which added nausea to her other symptoms. After talking to the medical personnel here and resting on a patient bed for about 90 minutes, we walked back to our compound – 20 minutes and five ASAH girls used the first aid training they received that morning
It is unlikely that the ASAH Boarding School for Orphaned Girls would have come to be without the John Dau Foundation Lost Boys Clinic in Duk Payuel. Joseph Akol Makeer, the Lost Boy who inspired us with his desire to help orphans in his home village is a cousin of John Dau. On our first visit to Duk Payuel in 2007 Joseph, Kevin Brooks, Matt McGregor and I traveled with John to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, to Juba, and then on to Duk without him. The clinic, housed in a metal building shipped from the US and assembled on site was a bare-bones operation, having opened only months earlier. The staff lived in the shipping containers, and we pitched our tents between them.
Though Joseph returned to Duk in 2009, my first return visit was in 2010. JDF staff provided me a safe place to stay and meals, hosting me until the ASAH boarding school opened in 2012. In return we have shared cargo or passenger space on our flights into Duk, and we have shared materials and supplies back and forth as needed. Now David Ayiik, JDF’s Chief Medical Officer, is training our students and staff in First Aid, an hour per day for two weeks.
The first day he introduced the concept of first aid as the first step in emergency care, to urge them not to ignore someone who has collapsed in a bed or on the street, to determine if there is a fever, if the victim is breathing, if they are conscious or not. And to take the appropriate action to reduce fever, clear the airways, which may save their life – and to do those things before heading toward a clinic or a hospital. There is no 911 service here!
On the second day, David taught them the specifics of fever reduction by demonstrating. We set up our outdoor learning area with one of the ASAH beds. Our matron, Daruka, was our first victim. She lay on the bed and covered herself with the sheet and wool blanket. David demonstrated with Daruka, and then our students had a chance to act out the sequence themselves.
After the class ended, five of our students went to Jessica’s tukul, where she was resting on the bed. They asked her, “What is it – the problem with your body?” She told them her stomach was sick and she was hot. They touched her on various spots on her body to verify that she was feverish, then removed her watch, and her bracelets. They picked up a notebook of hers and began to fan her, though as the girls were discussing what to do next, they didn’t notice that a pen flew out and hit her in the face. Jessica said, “Thank you. That feels good. Ouch. Thank you.”
They filled her water bottle and told her, “Drink.” One of them wet her towel with the water and they took turns cooling her neck, face, arms, legs, refilling the bottle as necessary, and continuing to urge her to drink.
One girl picked up a pair of Jessica’s pants, considering fanning her, but Jessica noticed a belt in the loops and managed to stop her before she was struck.
The outcome, however, was that Jessica cooled down and felt much better, though she felt compelled to stand prematurely to show the girls how much she had recovered. She sat down again.
We have class again today at three pm. Whatever we learn, I hope we don’t have a real life opportunity to use the skills today.
First Aid (1 of 1)
Deb Dawson
Empowering Orphaned Girls
African Soul, American Heart


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