“Days in the MSF clinic can veer between hectic – seeing hoards of outpatients; over 4,000 a month) and unreal – truck upon truck of patients with gunshot wounds arriving within hours of each other. But the staff we work with here, who have unfortunately seen all this before, carry on with such continued compassion and determination that one can only feel strengthened by their example.
“The biggest challenge I've faced so far has been with the acceptance and stoicism of the people of Sudan. Recently I saw a boy of 13, with a horrendous dilated cardiomyopathy [disease of the heart muscle] who I could only encourage to go home and enjoy what remained of his life.”
On Monday I was given the pleasure of speaking to Medicins Sans Frontieres at their meeting of their 'webby people'. I'd been warned that, based on the meeting last year, they were all rather sceptical of the use of blogging.
Unfortunately for me (who'd prepared for a fight), they appear to have come round to the idea nicely, there was a general agreement that social networking and blogging wasn't in fact a huge terror.
Also at this afternoon session was Karina Brisby of Oxfam and Tom Mansel of Justgiving.com (who have helped people raise more than £240 million for various charities). I was there as someone who (a) blogs, (b) has turned out to be quite sucessful about it and (c) has managed to do so without getting fired.
The general gist of the chat was essentially that you *can* trust people to blog responsibly, that people are more interested in what individuals have to say rather than PR departments and that blogs enable storytelling which interests people more than dry accounts of situations.
They are a good bunch of people, and the stuff that MSF deal with makes my problems (and the problems of a lot of the people I go to) pale into insignificance.
They certainly gave me a lot to think about.