Still in that decisive fourth year of college. Spotted as a serious student, Pierre is chosen to participate in the training of African students in their 1st and 2nd cycle at the hospital of Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso . The aim is to provide basic training in physiology and anatomy. He sets off with two classmates. A routine internship? He is far from suspecting what lies in wait..
On top of his classes, Pierre is supposed to be working for outpatients at the hospital. He’s supposed to serve as a “helping hand”. But a “lhelping hand” from Europe is considered locally as a confirmed doctor!
He is entrusted with large stiching jobs and the care of seriously ill patients. He copes, asks for advice, learns quickly and adapts. He is afraid, but finds his fear motivating. His actions have immediate impact. He feels he must quickly become more competent in order to help the sick and injured.
The immersion is brutal. A baptism by fire that would have traumatized most students. Gone is the protective cocoon. So too is the theory. They have to engage. To go from 4th in line to frontline!
Pierre sees difficult things. It is traumatic to witness young people dying in childbirth, or babies from dehydration… Intensive care is seriously lacking… Family members are relied on for patient hygiene! For Pierre and his friends, this is an adventure, a real adventure. He’s on the move. And he pays the price. He loses 7 kg from dysentry.
The harshness of the mission aside, he feels he’s making a real impact. But a fragile one if the logistics don’t follow. One day he is told that a shipment of equipment is being sent from Marseille. Oh joy! But then he learns that this aidhas been left on the burning tarmac, blocked by the customs who are trying to apply duty… On free material! They have to fight, to negotiate and complete formalities. When the time comes to count the material, it has deteriorated because of the heat. They can only clench their teeth and carry on.
Pierre realizes the magnitude of what needs putting in place, with a lack of material everywhere. This memory has certainly contributed to his future commitment to DSF.
Pierre Muller – Ambassador of our model Chapter 3
Supported Cause – NGO Douleur sans frontières