In the summer of 2003, a perilous helicopter descent delivered Ross Donaldson, an American medical student in his twenties, into Sierra Leone. With abundant schooling but little practical experience, Ross wanted to save the world. Little did he know that by the end of his journey, it would be he who would need rescue.
With rebels fighting just across the border in Liberia, humanitarian need quickly swept Ross southward towards makeshift refugee camps and the heart of danger. There, he had his first terrifying encounter with the highly contagious Lassa Virus. Working on the Lassa Fever Ward, he was wholly unprepared for what he would find, and for twist of fate that saw him running the facility alone, with only a handful of untrained nurses to help him.
Based on his personal journal, this gripping memoir details the time Ross spent on the Lassa Ward, and his own battle with a potentially fatal illness. It is a real-life thriller that not only tells the adventure-packed tale of a modern-day hero, but also bears witness to a people in need, and the struggle of those who risk their daily comforts, and even their lives, to help them.
Publisher: Black Swan
Write to Life is the creative writing group of Freedom from Torture. In the twelve years of our existence, we’ve grown from a small group of clients writing for each other, to a thriving family of twenty or so, who read all over the country, write for online and print publications, and star in both live theatre and film.
The linked poem was published on their website in 2014: “In light of the shipwrecks in the Mediterranean recently we highlight a commemorative poem by Write to Life member Faryad”
Link > Lampedusa <
Power. Money. Morality. In a tight knit community a shocking discovery comes to light and threatens the lifeblood of the town. Truth and honour are pitched against wild ambition and corruption in Ibsens emotional maelstrom.
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Catriona Kemp HYMS: Whistle blowing, medical ethics and public health.
The central character, a doctor, is a popular and well regarded figure in his community who investigates and discovers that the new baths to be opened in the town – bringing much needed tourism and money – are actually a health risk being corrupted by the local tannery.
Film versions of it have included Steve McQueen’s penultimate appearance. (Worth seeing just for the size of the beards.) Clips from this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSqHEYrRrm8) along with other versions available on YouTube.
Classic quotes include:
- “the strongest man is the man who stands alone“
- “The majority never has right on its side. Never, I say! That is one of these social lies against which an independent, intelligent man must wage war. Who is it that constitute the majority of the population in a country? Is it the clever folk, or the stupid? I don’t imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over. But, good Lord!—you can never pretend that it is right that the stupid folk should govern the clever ones I (Uproar and cries.) Oh, yes—you can shout me down, I know! But you cannot answer me. The majority has might on its side—unfortunately; but right it has not. I am in the right—I and a few other scattered individuals. The minority is always in the right.”
- “What sort of truths are they that the majority usually supports? They are truths that are of such advanced age that they are beginning to break up. And if a truth is as old as that, it is also in a fair way to become a lie, gentlemen. (Laughter and mocking cries.) Yes, believe me or not, as you like; but truths are by no means as long-lived at Methuselah—as some folk imagine. A normally constituted truth lives, let us say, as a rule seventeen or eighteen, or at most twenty years—seldom longer. But truths as aged as that are always worn frightfully thin, and nevertheless it is only then that the majority recognises them and recommends them to the community as wholesome moral nourishment. There is no great nutritive value in that sort of fare, I can assure you; and, as a doctor, I ought to know. These “majority truths” are like last year’s cured meat—like rancid, tainted ham; and they are the origin of the moral scurvy that is rampant in our communities.“
Full text available from project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2446 (source of quotes above).