Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Grant Assenheimer, "Speechless," AlertNet blog, April 8, 2009.

Last week, I spent one afternoon visiting patients with one of the councilors from our Mental Health program. Wow. You don’t answer “that was fun” when teammates ask how it went. The sessions were all in Kiluba, the main dialect here in Shamwana. While the ideas were translated into French for me by the councilor, you don’t need to understand the words to get their meaning. Pretty heavy stuff…

On the surface, Shamwana is all cheerful “Mazungo!” greetings as people busily go about their business. Life is hard but improving and it is easy to forget that real war was here a short 3 years ago. This was one of the first times I had stopped to really look. And when you look, you see the wrinkled hands and dirt under the toenails. You see that the toy is made from an old plastic jug on a string. You notice that her blouse used to be white…but is now gray and so thin its doesn’t conceal much. You realize she doesn’t even have flip-flops…and that life is not as easy as it appears.

  …in 2005 she saw her mother killed by a soldier. It was purposefully done in front of her as a tactic of intimidation.

Read the rest here =>

Grant Assenheimer is a logistician working with the Canadian branch of aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Shamwana, a tiny village in DR Congo's Katanga province. This is his second mission with MSF. Grant is a Canadian from Barrhead, Alberta.Recommend this Post

Sphere: Related Content