Hazel continues her clinic work in Bosnia
The siege on Sarajevo ended 18 years ago, however, evidence of the devastation of war still remains. The failed economy has meant very slow repair to buildings and the physical and emotional healing of its civilian victims is still ongoing.
The siege lasted three and a half years. The city’s food, water, electrical and medical supplies were cut off and, in the absence of anaesthetic, many operations were only done to save life.
As an outsider, all those years ago, the conflict seemed very complicated to me – ancient Balkan hatreds, geopolitical fault lines – but, when translated by the traumatised civilians, it is very simple: civilians were trapped in a city being relentlessly bombarded by people with guns, grenades and missiles. In my naivety I had not even considered rape as a weapon of war!
Still battered and worn, Sarajevo still has a timeless beauty about it. The therapists working in Sarajevo work extremely hard but have the evenings to recharge their batteries in this vibrant city, necessary as the work is physically and emotionally demanding.
Many of our patients still require ongoing rehabilitative therapy. Archaic prosthetic limbs make for poor gait and posture. Some patients have very significant muscle damage from shrapnel wounds, bomb or gas explosions, landmines etc. I will always remain inspired by my patients’ courage and endurance.
To help Healing Hands Network fund sending therapists like Hazel to Bosnia, a charity variety show will be held at the Radcliffe Club on September 7th. For further information call Hazel on 07943827439 or you can find her at In Sync Therapy Clinic, 76 Queen St, Amble. Visit Charity Night (Healing Hands).