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Doctor without borders shares story

Organiser of Lennox Head’s International Women’s Day lunch, Kate Lavender, with guest speaker Anna Dicker.
Organiser of Lennox Head’s International Women’s Day lunch, Kate Lavender, with guest speaker Anna Dicker.

FOR six months, Lennox Head midwife Anna Dicker worked in a make-shift hospital in one of the most dangerous parts of the world – war-torn Darfur in Sudan.

She was a volunteer with humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders.

Today, Ms Dicker will tell her story – and the stories of those she helped – at Lennox Head's International Women's Day lunch.

“I have always wanted to do humanitarian work,” she said.

“Suddenly, in 2007, the timing was good, so I signed up and went to Darfur for six months.

“It was not what I expected, but I never felt in danger.

“We set up a hospital which treated about 300 outpatients a day. It was only basic care because we had no electricity.

“We dealt a lot with malnutrition.

“After being there three months I decided I wanted to hear the stories of these people.

“There was a surprising amount of normality – people cooking, collecting water, having babies – yet there was this incredible violence on the perimeter.

“Our cleaners at the hospital had once been rich farmers, before the civil war.

“Their stories were horrific, appalling.

“Being a Muslim country I was keen to talk to the women.

“Men have more than one wife, so I talked to the first wives about what it was like to have another wife come into the home.

“I also talked to the second wives.

“There was a really high child death rate because of the chronically low standard of health.

“It is not unusual for a woman to have nine children and to lose half of them before the age of five.”

Ms Dicker will tell more stories of her time in Darfur at the International Women's Day lunch in Lennox Head today at Seven Mile Restaurant from 12.30pm.

The event has been organised by the Lennox Head Women's Group and is supported by the Lennox Head Chamber of Commerce.

For more information or to book, call 0448 876 536 or email lavender75@bigpond.com


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