Week in the Life, Sunday: MSF teams in Tigray, Ethiopia
By Joe Belliveau
Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Executive Director Joseph Belliveau spent five weeks in March-April as a project coordinator for MSF’s mobile medical teams in Northwest Tigray, Ethiopia. This is his final journal entry over the course of one week. To read the full journal, click here.
Shire. A day of rest. In the morning I sip my dark coffee at the curbside. Around 9:30 a.m., hundreds of people are walking by, well dressed, lots of white cloth. Smiling and chatting. They are coming back from church. They’ve been there since 6 a.m., but the priests were chanting in preparation most of the night. I can confirm since those chants made their way into my slumber. Most of our staff are among the procession. I’m glad they have this community and this belief to tap into.
Everyday is so different from the others and as this conflict evolves we will just have to keep reacting and flexing as best we can. It’s inadequate, but it’s something.
They are an amazing team. Simret*, the assistant project coordinator, who handles armed men like they’re students in her class. Go*, a senior and excellent medic, who’s also the first to grab a broom the minute we get to a health centre. Dee*, usually the last one doing consultations. Abel*, who always seems to know what’s going on. Negasi* the dispenser, and Kia* the registrar, always smiling and squeezing our ever-stretched medical stock to make sure we have enough meds for the next day. Aida*, midwife and usually the one igniting laughter in the back of the Land Cruiser. Dani*, nurse and wise soul. Marjani*, Yonas*, Aman*, excellent drivers, crowd controllers and protectors. Marion and Chiara, the Canadian and Italian nurses, who help smooth out all the planning bumps.
Tomorrow, we’ll gather here at 7:30 a.m. and start it all again. It won’t be the same though. Everyday is so different from the others and as this conflict evolves we will just have to keep reacting and flexing as best we can. It’s inadequate, but it’s something.
*To protect communities and individuals affected by the conflict as well as MSF staff, some place and person names have been changed.