Life and Death in Kolofata

Life and Death in Kolofata

An American Doctor in Africa
Ellen Einterz
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/05/2018
Format: Hardback 26 b&w illus., 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-03237-9
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When Dr. Ellen Einterz first arrives in the town of Kolofata in Cameroon, the situation is dire: patients are exploited by healthcare workers, unsterilized needles are reused, and only the wealthy can afford care. In Life and Death in Kolofata: An American Doctor in Africa, Einterz tells her remarkable story of delivering healthcare for 24 years in one of the poorest countries in the world, revealing both touching stories of those she is able to help and the terrible suffering of people born in extreme poverty. In one case, a 6-year-old burn victim suffers after an oil tanker tips and catches fire; in another story, Dr. Einterz delivers a child in the front yard of her home. In addition to struggling to cure diseases and injuries and combat malnutrition, Einterz faced another kind of danger: the terrorist organization Boko Haram had successively kidnapped foreigners from Cameroon, and they had set their sights on the American in Kolofata. It would only be a matter of time before they would come for her.

Tragic, heartwarming, and at times even humorous, Life and Death in Kolofata illustrates daily life for the people of Cameroon and their doctor, documenting both the incredible human suffering in the world and the difference that can be made by those willing to help.

Author Bio

Dr. Ellen Einterz has spent most of her life in rural West and Central Africa. After two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger in the mid-1970s, she directed a Catholic mission hospital in Benue State, Nigeria. She moved to northern Cameroon in 1990 and remained for 24 years, building and leading a district hospital and public health service. She was medical coordinator of an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia during the epidemic of 2014–2015, and she is presently working in Indianapolis, Indiana, with refugees newly arrived from war-torn countries. She is affiliated with Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis.

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Table of Contents


Part 1
You will also require an umbrella
To the end of the earth
So here we are
Every day someone’s child dies
Laying the foundation
Who among them ever heard of Descartes?
In their most dire poverty we find wealth
There are times when I really hate this work
The swift ticking of a little heart
There are no bridges
Amadou Ali
Slipping and sliding through the mud
When in doubt, do nothing, go nowhere, say not a word
He was burned everywhere
There is sure to be sorcery involved
Of donkeys, sheep and stables
The God in Kolofata

Part 2
She made it clear that she had reached her final destination
Keeping the front wheels in front of the back
I am counting on you, should God turn out to be Muslim
The father of the husband ate her
You know about satellite phones?
Write well to the Big People, tell them about this place
Whatever you do, don’t say you’re from English
Of the pain they bear, how much is our share?
The sous-préfet wants to see you
There is a huge difference between 108 and 112 degrees

Part 3
Their ability to cope is almost beyond belief
Sympathy and shared horror
Every jutting rib, every mother’s tear
Some day my very soul will leave my body
Just weeds
People say it is blood being poured over the moon
God decided her time had come to die
They close the nose and mouth, lest the last breath escape
Bodies lying contorted on the sand
Where things get done
My mother, I am dying
I’m going to carry you on my back
Obama City
If you shake their hands, your testicles fall off
Here, take this, please, fix it

Part 4
I wonder who will deliver her first child
The war is going to come to Cameroon
Do they want to kill you or abduct you?
Who knows what they are eating
Our job is to take care of them to the best of our ability
What good fortune we Americans have had
How do you say no if