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Kyrgyzstan: Spring has arrived, bringing hope with it

25 May 2016

Australian nurse Marie Reyes is on her second mission with Médecins Sans Frontières. She is in Kyrgyzstan working as a nursing activity manager in Osh and she continues to share her experiences working in the field with us.

You know the season is changing when flower buds begin to spring forth on wooden tree skeletons that mark the frosty winter that was. Spring is here, you can feel it. It is warmer, the heavy thick winter jackets and winter shoes have been put away, and heating is no longer at full blast for the whole day! The streets are buzzing with more life, with residents enjoying the outdoors more as days are becoming longer. I've noticed that sunrise greets me half an hour earlier too as I tend to come into the office early.

Osh celebrated International Women's Day this week and it is a holiday here! To be congratulated as a woman on this day (or given a gift) is not something I grew up experiencing every year and takes getting used to. My colleagues and I took advantage of our long weekend and traversed up the famous Suleiman Tu (Tu in the local language means mountain). I forgot to bring a hat on the day and covered my head with a scarf instead. I have had many locals commenting since I arrived that I look like a local Kyrgyz. Wearing a scarf on my head on this day made me look even more so, broken only when I open my mouth and English rather than the local dialect flows out. I've had some locals stare at me in disbelief!

"It's business as usual at work, and we’re excited that we've had five patients declared cured of TB last month"

It's business as usual at work, and we’re excited that we've had five patients declared cured of TB last month. But unfortunately we had one palliative care patient die with an extensively resistant form of TB (XDRTB). We have re-started the training to reach all ambulatory health facilities we work with as part of our goal to assist the local ministry of health (MoH) to build its capacity. One training was done in an ambulatory clinic that is surrounded by hills and breathtaking scenery! We conducted the training outside, with the gorgeous view as a backdrop, fresh air abounding, and the sound of sheep bleating as they frolicked around the surrounding hills! Even our MSF driver listened in on the training! It was just a beautiful, vivid image that I'll remember from my time in Osh. Nevertheless, I’ve got to get back to work, even on the weekends!