Photo: Displaced people use plastic sheeting to transport supplies along the Pibor river. South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF
Voice From the Field: A Clinic Deep in the Bush
David Bude is a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinical officer working in a remote outreach health clinic in the village of Lekwongole, near Pibor town in South Sudan’s violence-wracked Jonglei State. When fighting erupted in Lekwongole in August 2012, David fled along with the rest of the population. Hiding deep in the bush, he used his medical skills to save lives in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
Fleeing for our Lives
We ran from Lekwongole when there was shooting. I was frightened, and so was everyone else, because of what we had seen—because of the dead people.
I said to my wife that if we stay we will be killed. It is better to run to the bush because we know where we can hide ourselves.
We crossed the river using plastic sheeting as boats. We tied the lengths of plastic and put grass inside to make it more stable, so it would not collapse when we stepped inside. We ferried our children to the other riverbank, and then we ran, all of us, with our children and families. We didn’t have time to take any food or even any clothes or medicines. Everything was left behind.
Deep in the Bush
We were deep in the bush. There was thick grass and undergrowth everywhere, no roads or tracks. I was scared—everyone was scared. You can’t see what is in the thick tall grass, and there are lots of dangerous things: snakes, hyenas, we heard lions at night. And there were the rebels and militia. You don’t know what will happen at night, or even during the daytime.
The area was flooded, so there was lots of water everywhere. Most people were just sleeping under trees without anything for shelter. Some had some plastic sheeting with them and when it rained they would invite other people’s children to take shelter. We helped each other because we were all there in the bush together.