Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wild, Wild... South?

The white pick-up truck blasted its horn with annoying persistence as it sped up to the clinic doors. Urgent voices shouted instructions as a handful of soldiers waved their AK-47s about like sticks.

Another emergency, Lord? Really...? How many this time?

I wearily slipped on gloves as I watched the cargo being unloaded. Our staff had to fight to carry the broken soldier in our front door; each one held a limb.

It took four strong men to lift him; their hurried instructions and shuffled steps left a steady trail of blood as they went.

Once on the bed, everyone seemed intent on getting to him at once. Five of them attempted to cut off his shirt while two others turned in circles. Getting close enough to help was next to impossible.

Fortunately Dennis arrived quickly... and then Tom, so I stepped aside and let them do their thing.

In the next room, I found another soldier who had not been assisted yet; so I got to work. He’d been shot in the neck; and though he was in obvious pain, he was stable. Remarkably, the bullet had missed his carotid... and his spine. 

But as I worked to start an IV and get his vitals, crowds of looky-lous screamed through the window demanding to know details. I could not hear myself think.

Why, Lord? Why must these strangers harass us while we work?

I asked them to leave but they refused. Over and over, I told them I could not work with them yelling like this, but it made no difference.

Meanwhile, more gun shot wounds filtered in, and I turned to help them.

One man had a compound fracture and was losing a lot of blood. Another had his foot filleted open, exposing tendons and nerves. The last to arrive, stumbled in on his own. In obvious shock, he barely made it to the bed before he collapsed. His shoulder had been grazed by a bullet, leaving a gaping wound.

Five soldiers. Five gun shot wounds.

We had to lock and bar the clinic front door to keep people from walking in, but even that didn't keep them all out. And although the clinic gate was locked as well, people climbed over it, insisting they had the right to bother us. It was a constant battle to keep them away.

Thankfully, all the soldiers survived. Three were transported to Wau for surgery, but the other two were stable enough to stay.

When I asked what the fighting was all about, they explained there had been more cattle raiding. The soldiers had gone to protect them and a shoot-out ensued.

Honestly with all these cattle raids, I’m reminded of the wild, wild, West. But instead of saloons we’ve got tukels; and instead of cowboys, we've got soldiers.

Please pray for them to heal quickly, and for the cattle raiding to stop. Also pray for the staff here (me in particular). I can’t speak for the rest of them... but I am tired of trying to save lives while simultaneously shooing away demanding crowds.

Tired. Disgusted. And dangerously close to burned out.

There. I said it.

Please pray as the Lord leads. Thanks.