A nurse, who was born and raised in northwestern Ontario said she decided to try "something completely different" last year and take a leave of absence from her job at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to travel to the "newest country in the world."
Katelyn O'Conner, who works as an operating room nurse at the hospital, said she applied to work with Doctors without Borders to not only try something new, but challenge herself with new experiences and adventure.
"I started looking up certain things I wanted to do and I have an interesting set of skills that can be versatile," O'Conner explained, "so I started looking into organizations that I can possibly do surgery or help do surgery all over the world."
After an extensive application process, she said she was offered a position to help out at a United Nation base in South Sudan.
"You get all the background of South Sudan and what the country has been through and what the context is like," she said, adding that despite her previous travel experiences, she had "never been to something like this."
She said South Sudan is still under turmoil after separating from Sudan in 2011.
"South Sudan is the newest country in the world and ... as they were trying to rebuild their country, another civil war broke out in 2016. So they've had a civil war going on with a lot of displacement," she said.
Placed at a protected UN base, O'Conner said there were about "120,000 internally displaced people" living in very poor conditions and tiny shelters as they are "too afraid to be home in their villages."
"Even though we're in the protection of civilians, we see a lot of people who travel many hours to come see us. So you still see a lot of gunshot wounds," O'Conner explained, adding that she also treated many children with burns as well.
With only one surgeon available for a short period of time, she said she was "very busy," running three different departments.
"I was in charge of the operating theatres and then the post-op surgical ward as well as the sterilization department," she said, "and you just facilitate surgery."
Although the work was hard and sometimes stressful, she said it was "all worth it" because you can see the difference your making.
"It was a fantastic experience. I'm very grateful for it and it made me such a better person," O'Conner said.
Newer news items:
- South Sudan secures $500 mln financing facility from AfreximBank - 15/04/2019
- Neighbours, world powers anxiously watch post-Bashir Sudan - 15/04/2019
- World Vision South Sudan Annual Report 2018 - 15/04/2019
- Sahara Energy Announces $600 million Investment in South Sudan - 14/04/2019
- South Sudan investment roadshow reflects interest in the country - 14/04/2019
Older news items:
- Sudan political turmoil not affecting South Sudan oil flow: minister - 13/04/2019
- Sudan's military has ousted President Omar al-Bashir. How did it come to this? And what's next? - 13/04/2019
- In South Sudan, midwives bring down deaths despite the odds - 13/04/2019
- Ex South Sudan rebel leader says believes unity government won't be ready by May 12 - 12/04/2019
- Sudan’s new military rulers have no plans to extradite al-Bashir, in yet another rebuke of the International Criminal Court - 12/04/2019
Popular news items:
- No oil in troubled waters - 25/03/2014 - Read 19137 times
- School exam results in South Sudan show decline - Bikya Masr - 01/04/2012 - Read 14855 times
- Former Lost Boy Gives Back to South Sudan - Care2.com (blog) - 31/05/2012 - Read 14465 times
- NDSU student from South Sudan receives scholarship - In-Forum - 29/09/2012 - Read 14061 times
- With prisons full, South Sudan to introduce mobile courts to clear backlog of ... - Washington Post - 11/10/2012 - Read 11645 times