A Cruel Paradise: Journals of an International Relief by Leanne Olson

By Leanne Olson

Those are the journals of Leanne Olson, a Canadian nurse who for 4 years labored in struggle zones all over the world, providing medication in Bosnia, helping rural hospitals in Africa, supplying reduction to humans in want. She used to be one of many first foreigners at the scene of the Mokoto bloodbath in Zaire, the place greater than 100 humans have been killed via machete-wielding Hutus. She spent one Christmas pinned down through Serbian heavy artillery with a troop of Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers. She immunized hundreds of thousands of youngsters in rural Liberia. and he or she has witnessed the short development of ethnic detoxification, looking at one village after one other wiped off the face of the earth.

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They've been forced to fight and have been given a gun and some power. It's a scary thing to happen to a child. My new baby at the therapeutic feeding centre (TFC) is doing well. Her name is Handful, since that's about all she is! 8 kilograms when she arrived. 2 kilograms now and is looking beautiful. Some of the drivers are still very edgy driving here. The whole area — 34 — around Mount Gibi is haunted, full of witchcraft and mysteries. I've been told that if I tried to climb to the top of Mount Gibi without the permission of the elders, I'd simply disappear.

The raft, which was the sole means of transport to the centre, was breaking apart, and the new one was only half finished. There had been a lot of fighting two days before I arrived, and several of the staff and patients had fled. I could go on, but suffice to say that I realized 'supervision' covered a lot of ground I hadn't thought about. Wilma was reassuring, but I was feeling pretty insecure about the whole thing. It didn't help that that very night the team had a big security meeting. On March 7, the interim government in Monrovia was supposed to take power during this, the latest cease-fire.

He definitely had a way with the ladies. If we were overloaded with patients, the national staff would rather have me call the base and get extra supplies than have to quit and return another day. They worked on weekends to catch up on the program if we had been refused permission in a certain area. I never realized then how lucky I was to have such a good relationship with my staff, or what a nightmare it could be if you didn't. True, I used to get hassled for loans of money quite regularly, but the borrowers almost always tried their best to repay me.

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