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  • Writer's picturekwankew


I saw a sea turtle on the beach on my run this morning, its eyes were gouged out and one of the front legs was partially chewed off and a big dent was evident in its carapace. I was not sure whether someone caught it (there was a flimsy rope loosely connected to its dead body) or it was beached. In some way its fate of being stranded and brutally hurt was not unlike that of the Rohingya.

The Hope Clinic continued to be abuzz with people lining up patiently to be seen. A pattern of common symptoms and issues seemed to emerged. Many complained about having burning pain in the stomach just below the breast bone, aches and pains, and generalized weakness.

With some patients I continued to ask them about their life and death experiences, escaping being killed or burned.

BB, a 30 yo woman has been in camp for 5 months. She, her husband and 6 children walked for 3 days and then crossed the river. She saw many dead bodies floating in the water.

AR, an18 yo man, in camp for 5 months, He and his family, all 10 of them ran when their village was burned. They walked for 4 days and crossed a river to reach the border.

NN, a 40 yo man, 5 months at camp. He had 5 children but missing 3 of them, believed burned. In the middle of the night, soldiers tossed flame into his house, his 3 young children 3, 5 and 10 sleeping in the next room, could not be saved. He and his wife and their 2 older children 17 and 18 ran out. He cried when he related the story. The pain shown in his eyes was as fresh as though all the nightmares happened yesterday. His story particularly touched us and my translator and I remained quiet for a while letting him grieve again. Were we being cruel in making him reliving his harrowing and unspeakable experience or did we provide him the time and space to mourn, to lament, cry and to begin healing if only for a little bit?

After that my translator and I took a brief break but for our patient, he would need a much longer time to recover from his trauma.

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