Sun Set over the Kutupalong Camp
I thought yesterday was my last time to the Obat clinic at Kutupalong Camp but at the last minute it seemed the three UK doctors decided they wanted to be together at the Hope Clinic so I became the default doctor to head for Obat.
We traveled for an hour and a half in a van to the entrance of Kulupalong Camp. No one waited for us there. We walked towards the clinic which we could see as it was on top of a hill with flags waving. It was not as foggy as yesterday. Children girls and boys alike played at making shelters; they grew up fast in the camp.
Hasina was a 25-year-old woman, here in camp for 3 months. She was near term when she ran away with 7 other children, walking for 8 days in her very pregnant state. Some days, it rained and they were miserably wet. They had little to eat and most days they drank only water. They hid in the jungle for fear of the military and scarcely slept. We gave her a bag full of dried salted fish, groundnuts and apples, the latter lit up the eyes of four of her children who came with her.
The clinic was busy, patients streamed in endlessly. I saw about 30 patients and took a break at one o’clock and then resumed seeing patients to a total of 50. It was a very tiring and exhausting day.
Words must have spread concerning the clinic giving out food. One irritable child, probably hungry because of the long wait came in right away asking where was her apple. Giving out food in the clinic created an incentive for patients to come even if there were no real medical issues.
In the newspaper today, one of the headlines flashed,”Mayanmar agrees to take back the refugees in two years”. I did not read the details of the article but I wonder how many Rohingya would go back.
My translator was Yasim who had been in the camp for two months. Oldest of 6 siblings, he said when the gun started to shoot, everyone scattered. In the chaos he was separated from his family but he was fortunate to reunite with them. He saw many people killed and as he related his story his eyes glinted the horror he witnessed. He feels he is not accepted at Bangladesh and would like to go back to Myanmar if he is given citizenship for after all that has been his home.
As I crossed the bamboo bridge leaving the entrance to the Kutupalong Camp for the last time, I looked back at the glowing sun about to set over the camp. Its red glow penetrated the grey haze shrouding the enormous canopy that temporarily housed the massive humanity that had made its narrow and harrowing escape from the military crackdown and communal violence over the last five months.