From Arctic to Iraq, readers show their love
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, December 11, 2002
Our mailbag this week includes letters from a nurse in the High Arctic
and a physician in Iraq. But first, this note from a wellness facilitator
at Morley who was deeply moved by Bob Bartlett's reminiscences two weeks
ago over the late Stoney Nakoda Grand Chief Frank Kaquitts:
WARREN AND BOB, thank you both for sharing your precious memories
of Frank Kaquitts. Your column "One last mountain journey with Sitting
Wind" captured the spirit, the insight and the wisdom of a unique man
and allowed me to embrace a very special moment. You have given your
readers a brief glimpse into the rich heritage which lives within the
hearts of all Stoney people.
Joey Lougheed, Morley
IT SEEMS that several of our loyal coffee companions are personally
committed to wellness and health on a global scale. Adele Dyall, who makes
Cochrane her home when not hobnobbing with polar bears, sent the following
note in response to last week's column on the Rotarian initiative to eradicate
HI WARREN, a timely story. I am going on one of the polio eradication
assignments in February. There are seven teams going on this three-month
mission to countries such as Angola, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Nepal.
I have been selected to go to Tanzania, which is in Eastern Africa bordering
Kenya, Mozambique and the Indian Ocean. The mission is a combined polio/measles
campaign, as those diseases are still common in that part of the world.
To say that I am excited to be going on one of these campaigns is
an understatement. If anyone had told me when I entered nursing (eons
ago) about the opportunities out there for nurses, I would never have
imagined them in my wildest dreams.
Adele Dyall, Paulatuk, N.W.T.
OUR FINAL contribution is from a physician who truly believes the health
of children must have priority over petroleum and weapons.
Dr. David Swann was fired as provincial health officer for Palliser
Health Region in Southern Alberta earlier this fall for speaking out on
environmental issues impacting health. After massive public outcry, the
president of the Society of Alberta Medical Officers of Health was offered
his job back. He declined the offer and set his physician's heart instead
on bringing help and hope to poor children in Iraq, the most vulnerable
civilians, by the rivers of Babylon.
David left for Iraq mid-November, affiliated with Medecins du Monde
and Physicians for Global Survival. Within days of his arrival in this
once-prosperous country, he was struck by the social devastation he encountered.
Here's an excerpt from an e-mail sent from Baghdad:
WE TRAVELLED...to a district called Joomouriya to find a family referred
to us...and saw a most disturbing part of Basra sewage in the
streets, children playing in bare feet amidst the garbage, dogs and
flies; holes and debris such as to make it impossible for our driver
to go on some streets.
By word of mouth we found the home of this woman, whose son Haman
had been killed by a US bomber just two years ago and whose other son
Haidar, about eight years old, had lost half of his left hand from the
bomb. This was now well-healed but needed further reconstruction and
we offered to assist....
The family was obviously touched by our concern and visit but it was
we who felt humbled by the conditions they endured....
The sanctions, introduced after the 1991 Gulf War, have destroyed
the Iraqi economy and cost the lives of over 1.5 million Iraqis from
poverty, contaminated environments, lack of medical care and often,
Everywhere we have met Iraqis who express bitter feelings...about
sanctions and likely war. "Why do they hate us so much?" is a recurrent
question from taxi drivers to college students to physicians.
David Swann, M.D., Baghdad, Iraq
A DISTURBING question as we enter this season of love, joy and peace.
© 2002 Warren Harbeck
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