I Yvette nurse in Batibo hospital, my Experience during the Anglophone crisis and why I stayed back in Batibo despite all threats and insecurity.
The Anglophone crisis of Cameroon started in 2016 timidly and spread in many places in the Northwest and Southwest Provinces including Batibo and its environs. This crisis saw its peak from 2018. With this, two days in 2018 are the most remarkable days of my life. These days are 6 August and 16 August.
On the 6th of August 2018, we were attacked by the ‘Amba guys’ when Br Linus Tangu was almost killed. Later in the day, the military entered the compound, and everyone was in panic. So, the decision was that we should go and rest for a while wherever it is safe. My colleagues and I were about to leaving when a patient walked up to me and said “Madam, you guys are leaving that who would take care of us’’. That statement made me to realise that I was called to serve humanity even at the total risking of my own very life. This moved me to take I personal decision to stay in Batibo.
The threats became serious, and insecurity reigned seriously at the time. A two-week break was proposed to all the staff but as a management team member, we were invited to Douala to have a meeting on how we could face the present life-threatening situation of the hospital.
We arrived Douala on the 15th of August 2018 for a meeting on the 16th of August 2018. Many were of the opinion to close for a while and to reopen sometime in October 2018. As we were deliberating on this, I received a call from the client asking me for a RDV for vaccination and same time another client I have been following up during antenatal consultation (ANC) had a still birth in the quarter because she could not get us since we were not available. This was enough reason for me to tell the brothers that I would voluntarily be going back that same August since the patients and clients need our services and since then, I have been able to serve the patients in very difficult and scary environment till date. There were times when we had to look for food to offer our patients since they had nothing and especially during a lock down due to elections on 7th October 2018. The gunshots were numerous and terrifying, and most patients must go under their hospital beds for safety.
We render immense thanks to God for safety and for permitting us serve the sick even by risking our lives in the example of St John of God. I gathered a lot of skills and creativity during this time of insecurity that I think I could not have achieved in a peaceful environment.
I pray constantly that St John of God keep protecting us while we continue offering ourselves at the bedsides of our brothers and sisters who are sick.