Sunday, October 29, 2006

Prompt 1.31.3 3. Who's the most innocent person you know?/Realm of the Muse

She was just a little girl, a little girl who wanted no more than any other child does, and she was put through so much. I've talked often about the Congo, and what happened to me, what happened to Patrique.  I've mentioned Chance and her mother in passing, but I've never really touched on all they endured to stay at my side.

Chance first came to our attention when she stepped on a landmine near our immunization clinic in Matenda.  She was a beautiful little girl, and now I was going to have to cut off her leg without even the benefit of the bare minimum needed for a field operating room.  No anesthetic, no surgical saws. No, we poured iodine over a machete and prayed that she'd soon fall unconscious so she wouldn't suffer any more pain. Her screams were a nightmare, as were those of her mothers, but we had no choice if we were to save her life. 

We take an oath to first do no harm and then we torture innocent children in the guise of trying to heal them.  I know, it wasn't as if we intended it as torture but if you had heard her screams you couldn't think of it as anything less? 

Even as we worked on her the Mai Mai and Government troops were fighting around us. At any time during the surgery we could have all been killed, but I couldn't leave until we were done, I had to give her that much of a chance. As soon as I had taken her leg and tied off the last of the bleeders I was forced to scoop her into my arms so we could flee into the abandoned fields that surrounded the clinic, it was our only chance for safety.  We spent the rest of that night in hiding, hoping that we wouldn't be found.

Her risk for infection would only grow worse later when we were taken by the Mai Mai and she was deprived of all medical care, but that was the least of the things she would have to face. She was forced to sit and listen to the sounds of her mother's cries as she was gang raped, no doubt wondering if she would suffer the same fate. She was forced to bear witness to the murder of those who were held with us, and then watch as her mother placed their lives at risk once more as she pleaded to save mine with a lie that could have gotten them both killed.

But they didn't die, she didn't die, they survived and she now has a lifetime ahead of her, as do I because of them.

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