terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Muzaffarabad, Part 8

The camp is reconfigured and up and running by the time we return. The generators the second team brought up are operational and we have flourescent lights outside every tent. There are now five tents for personnel, one for supplies and one just for the generators - an A-frame one, open at both ends for ventilation. I'm just happy because it means that I get to recharge my camera batteries (which were down to less than half after the first day, but after a night wrapped in a scarf and tucked into the inner pocket of my fleece jacket, they went back up to almost full. Go figure) as well as the batteries for the mobile. When I had the time, I downloaded the images from my CF cards as well. No sense in not being prepared for the worst and having the equipment fuck up again and costing me more images.

The second medical team had just settled down to cook and the summons to dinner did not please some of them. They do get ready, however, and leave for their riverside reservations in twenty minutes. I elect to remain behind - it was my last night in the zone and I didn't feel like the invitation extended to the non-medical members of the team. Dinner that night was great (now that we have a working electric stove): four different ways of preparing potato. And the best-tasting tuna-from-the-can salad I've ever eaten. Spicy though, thanks to the addition of local chillies - I had to remind myself I still didn't want to use the toilets in the camp.

Most of the team comes back after an hour, just as darkness fell in the camp - and just as the first generator gave out; it turns out that the generators we brought up this time, though smaller, and thus lighter than the behemoth we'd brought into Nias, are bigger petrol guzzlers than we'd have thought. Fred refills the generator with more of our daily allowance of two cans of petrol (barely 10 litres worth). Fortunately, the UN tents have also been moved and the stadium lights that their team had with them had been turned on, so we didn't really need to overtax our fuel ration in the end, so bright the whole area was that night.

There is about an hour of debriefing during which the non-medical people simply tended to the campfire with the wood that Iskandar brought back with him and for those of us leaving the next day, it was also time to pack.

The rest of the night is a blur of idle chit chat by the fire, of broken chairs tossed into the flames, of saying our goodbyes.

I sleep for about 9 hours my last night in Muzaffarabad, the most I've had on such trips, and the next morning, I'm among the last to wake up. Somehow it didn't feel as cold the second night and though the morning was as crisp; it felt like my body had already grown used to it.

The first group leaves for the hospital while we putter about the camp, putting things aside, making everything neat. Deck chairs get returned to the front of the tents and we get more petrol from the UN store for the generators.

After that, it's to settle down and wait for the vehicle to come get us.

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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