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Christmas falls during the cold season here, which means the harvest has been collected, most people have food to eat and malnutrition rates are relatively low.
Trish Newport Special to the News The following is the first in a series of articles written by between November 2010 and May 2011, during a mission in Niger with Medecins Sans Frontiers/ Doctors Without Borders.
It is Saturday morning, and outside my bedroom the little yellow birds are chirping away from somewhere within the leaves of the avocado tree. The neighbours are busy preparing tea over their fire.
Yesterday I had to fill out a form to start scheduling my flights home. In only four weeks I leave here - and the sudden realization made me quite sad.
A few weeks ago, we flew into a village named Banda to assess the nutritional situation. After having determined that the situation was critical, we returned to the village for a five-day nutritional intervention and to assess the health-care situation of the local people.
From the comfort of western life, it may be very difficult to imagine the stories I am about to tell because they are hard for me to imagine and I am seeing them unfold. I will try to describe the situations to the best of my abilities...
It is two days before Christmas and I have just returned to the remote Congolese village of DingiIa after a five-day vaccination campaign.
This country has always conjured up images in my mind of rebels lurking in the jungle, burnt out villages, and young child soldiers with machine-guns...
This is said to be the hottest place in the world, and the end of May symbolizes the beginning of the hot period.
Emergency: A state, especially of need for help or relief, created by some unexpected event. In many ways, Djibouti would be better off it were in an emergency situation.
I have now been here in the capital of this very small country snuggled next to Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, for more than a week.