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Penguin SA

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The Life of a Doctor Without Borders in Band-Aid for a Broken Leg by Damien Brown

Band-Aid for a Broken LegDamien Brown thinks he’s ready when he arrives for his first posting with Medecins Sans Frontieres in Africa. But the town he’s sent to is an isolated outpost of mud huts, surrounded by landmines; the hospital, for which he’s to be the only doctor, is filled with malnourished children and conditions he’s never seen; and the health workers – Angolan war veterans twice his age who speak no English – walk out on him following an altercation on his first shift. In the months that follow, Brown confronts these challenges all the while dealing with the social absurdities of living with only three other volunteers for company. The medical calamities pile up – leopard attacks, landmine explosions, performing surgery using tools cleaned on the fire – but as Brown’s friendships with the local people evolve, his passion for the work grows. Written with great warmth and empathy, Band-Aid for a Broken Leg is a compassionate, deeply honest and often humorous account of life on the medical frontline in Angola, Mozambique and South Sudan. It is also a moving testimony to the work done by medical humanitarian groups and the remarkable, often eccentric people who work for them.

About the author
Damien Brown is a South African-born doctor based in London. He began writing seriously after his last humanitarian posting, encouraged by readers of a blog he kept while working in Africa. When not treating patients or writing, Damien can be heard playing drums with his old university band, or toying with an overpriced piece of camera equipment.

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