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Showing posts from January, 2007

Vultures Online

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Looks like vultures are being featured by some little mag in the states...

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/issues/2007/february/vulture.php

I helped a little in March last year and it was a great laugh to have Susan the reporter around while my UK friend Richard and I were catching vulture chicks.

(PS Another update from April 2008: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7373381.stm)

Acronyms Dictionary

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The humanitarian world is full of acronyms. At first they are bewildering, but soon they just become part of the everyday language here and you forget you are speaking another whole language…
MSFF – Medians san Frontiers France, doctors without boarders french section, the organisation I am working for currently. Fiercely independent, providing emergency medicine, usually in difficult conditions.
MSFH – MSF Holland, and I guess there is a MSFB around as Belgium have a mission here as well in Sudan.
NGO’s – non governmental organizations… random bunches of tree hugging lefty do gooders who are not affiliated directly with national governments or the UN.
ACF – Action Contra Famine, action against hunger, another French outfit which concentrates on food distribution, water and sanitation (see watsan). Friendly fun group in Bentiu, come complete with alcohol, but don’t swap F100 (see below) with them.
Watsan – water and sanitation, a general term for an area taken for granted in the developed …

Kids playing with matches

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Another fire broke out in the Rubkona market that leveled one area of shacks and shops. The watchmen here at the compound alerted me again and I took a series of photos as the wall of flame marched from the tire shops on the right with thick bellowing smoke, to the left, with gain stores catching fire and some fuel drum explosions.

The fire was quite a way from us here and it was ironic to have people in the street carry on their normal business… women and girls gracefully carrying building materials on their heads, young boys riding the donkeys which carry water from the river (swamp) to the town to sell.

A wide road area where the buses leave from seems to have formed a firebreak and stopped the fire from continuing its destructive march. In the evening the area affected was still smoldering, but by the morning shops areas had been recleared and reconstruction of the simple wooden shacks already underway again.

The fire is rumored to have been started by kids playing with matches - cle…

Christmas 2006 and New Year 2007

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Christmas in little Bentiu turned out to be a relatively quiet affair. We, the expats of MSF and ACF that had not somehow weaseled some leave or holiday to a more favorable location, gathered at the MSF compound on Christmas eve for a wonderful dinner cooked by the field coordinator Marieno. At midnight we proceeded to the stadium area in the main town but the open air church service was cold and boring, not the wonderful african drumming that we had been hoping for.

Christmas day started for me with the arrival of the water tanker from Heglig at 9am as per usual but with Gordon, the local Nuer staff member who normally takes care of this watsan exercise being off on holiday. I laughed away to myself as I sleepily found the workshop key and figured out the water pump and assorted tanks and piping.

The rest of the day was spent mostly across at the clinic, with a midday meal put on for both staff and patients, consisting of two unlucky sheep who spent their last night tethered beside the…