Many of the patients at Mother of Mercy walk for days in order to arrive at the hospital's gates. Others are carried by friends, or survive the jarring ride over dirt paths in the back of the rare pickup that exists in the Nuba Mountain region of southern Sudan. Most are victims of the war that has been waged from the air against the people of Nuba by the Sudanese government for years. All Nubans know to seek refuge in a foxhole when they hear the drone of the bombers overhead; and they all know, in the aftermath, is to bring the maimed to Dr. Tom Catena, the only surgeon for thousands of square miles.
Dr. Tom, as he's known throughout Nuba, has lived at the hospital for seven years. Aside from the walk that he makes each morning to a small chapel, he rarely leaves Mother of Mercy. He spends his days amputating limbs, sewing up wounds, and saving lives that would surely have no chance of being saved if it weren't for Catena and the Nuban staff that, with no formal education, have learned to treat the horrors that come through their doors every day.
©2015 James Verini and the Atavist Magazine (P)2015 James Verini and the Atavist Magazine