I broke my bones in Africa

I haven’t written anything meaningful in months.

This blog was initially meant for friends, who would rather choose to read a blog than get these nasty mass Emails I used to send from 2001 onwards. In the meantime, more than just friends are reading this.

On 24 March 2012, I had a very bad accident while I was in Africa. I fell into a deep hole and broke my shoulder and made my right ankle into a ruin. What followed: Alerting people with my (thankfully working) iPhone, a provincial hospital, night evacuation to a bigger hospital in the Capital, a first surgery to conserve the blood channels and nerves (to save the foot from amputation), then evacuation with an air ambulance to Bern, Switzerland. The next 3+ months I was in Hospital and rehabilitation, undergoing nine surgeries and countless hours of physical rehabilitation.

Having the whole right side of my body broken and largely immobilized, I experienced what it was like to be completely dependent for the most daily of tasks (such as cutting your food, to mention a harmless one) on other people. And this is me, someone busy travelling around the world without telling more than one or two people about it.

I was shattered.

I also experienced hope and hopelessness. My shoulder healed after two months or so, and I was totally amazed by being able to use my hand again. But my foot caused problems ever since. The time seemed eternal. From being a vegetable on a bed for a month; to being in an electrical wheel chair for another month; to being on American cruthes for another 1.5 months; to slowly limping around the Swiss landscape; literally one step at a time.

Four months after the accident, I was indeed limping again. Six months after the accident, I was declared fit for the work that I love – humanitarian and development work abroad.

A strange sudden turn of destiny made that I was on stand-by waiting for my visa for a month, and all of the sudden – within a week – what seemed to heal so slowly but surely, started to give me unacceptable pain again. Doctor’s visit, another surgery within days, and – eventually – cancellation of the mission I was looking so much forward to.

I was now totally shattered.

It was like I had in front of me a plate with the best food in the world – prepared by many people. I was ready do dig in. The doctor said: Go ahead, you are fine again. And then, the plate is taken away just before I could get the first bite. I was set back.

Presently, I am still walking on crutches, and I may have to do one or two more surgeries.

Sometimes, when I am thinking about the good old times of past travels and missions, and when I think about future travels and missions, I am thinking: No condition is permanent, as they say in West Africa.

I will walk again, because I am a damn stupborn guy.

And to keep perspective: Everything will disappear one day. Tout disparaîtra!

Listen to Sophie Hunger with her incredible unbeatable interpretation of Le vent l’emportera. The wind will take it away.

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