MSF Blogs: The Flying Creatures I Sleep With
Chris Bird, a former Reuters and Guardian reporter, put down his notepad and left more than 10 years of news reporting to study medicine with the intention of returning to the front lines where he can be hands-on saving lives and alleviating the kind of suffering he once wrote about.
Here he talks about his living situation in Democratic Republic of Congo while working in the field:
We’ve taken over a compound from another aid agency as a temporary MSF base. “Compound,” however, is probably too grand a term for the small single-story building of mud, riddled with termite holes, its bare wooden beams roofed with corrugated iron and surrounded by a flimsy stockade of bamboo.
The strong smell of ammonia pervades the building as it hosts a thriving colony of bats. They’re quiet during the day but, as I turn in, they start to scratch, screech, and shuffle about after returning from sorties to feast on the copious and diverse clouds of insects that race like electrons around the bare bulbs run by a noisy diesel generator at night.
Having learned of a possible association between bats and the dreaded viral hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, I was not happy to find two of them, wings folded, clinging upside down to the mosquito net over my bed. The net is often covered with tiny black pellets each morning—bat poo.
Read his previous blog post here.
Photo: DRC 2011 © Frank Rammeloo/MSF Lulimba Hospital, in the Kimbi Lulenge health zone in South Kivu.