Pauline arrived at our hospital six weeks ago. She was in a coma after being struck in the head with a machete during an attack in Boda, one of the area’s most badly hit by the war, 200 km from Bangui.
She was alone, brought in by a humanitarian organisation that works in her city. They told us she was an orphan, then said her parents had fled to the forest to escape the fighting, and finally that her mother had left when Pauline was still a baby and she’d been brought up by her father, who’d since disappeared.
Our staff finally found an aunt who came to take her home. Pauline is doing much better; she’s put on weight and is always full of life. She still cries though, and doesn’t want to go home. “There are bad men there. I don’t want to go”, she says.
In Bangui, safety is improving. There’s no more fighting. People have resumed their everyday lives, albeit amid the hardships of a country that was already poor before and is now on its knees due to the effects of the war. In the provinces, the skirmishes continue and there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out.