terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Muzaffarabad, Part 7

We stay at the field hospital for a little longer. At 4.30 pm, the vehicle comes to fetch the first group of the medical team back to base camp. Because of our numbers, we need at least two trips to bring everyone safely back to camp. I volunteer to go with the second group because there wouldn't be anything else to do at camp anyway.

It is then that someone from the Pakistani medical team comes to those of us who have remained behind with an invitation for all of us to observe iftar with them. It is immediately apparent that it's their way of welcoming the second medical team into the fold. There is a half-hour of uncertainty because of this, however, because the first group has returned to the base camp, and there's no doubt that they would have begun cooking their dinner already.

We wait for the vehicle to come back - it takes a while because of the fading light and the bad road and traffic conditions. When it does return, only Izuan and I climb in. The others have decided to stay back to break fast with the locals. All Izuan and I would have to do would be to inform the others and send them back to the field hospital with the driver.

It suddenly hits me that this would be my only full day in Muzaffarabad. Most of the five days have been spent just travelling and I'll be leaving the city for the drive back to Islamabad by about 10 in the next morning.

Not a lot of time to do what I wanted to do.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

I sit alone at the back of the minibus with my thoughts. Outside, there's some life on the streets. People heading back to wherever they've set up their temporary shelters. Men are standing around corner food stalls that are open and around the distribution points for food, so that they'd be right there when the fast is broken and they can get their sustenance for the day. All they get is just the basmati rice; the canned food and other foodstuff that have been donated and shipped over have been deemed useless - they are simply not used to the food contained within.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

There's that feeling again, the same one I got while in-country in Meulaboh and Nias: we're not done here; there's more that can be done; we need to do more. And so on. Scared shitless? I still am, but now it seems I have some reason to come back here. To do more. Fred and Hassan were talking about the third and fourth teams to come up to Muzaffarabad. And the possibility of changing the the mission of the fourth team from a medical one to a logistical one - the distribution of tents and winter blankets to the survivors.

Logistics, now that I can do.

Originally uploaded by Terz.

The sunset is beautiful.

Related Links:
Flickr Photoset

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9


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