War lends itself to experiences. Most of the medical breakthroughs we are embracing in trauma / acute medicine is as a result of knowledge gained during war time. It lends itself to the development of new techniques, more effective algorithms and more efficient patient care. It allows us (me) to come here and do numerous operations that i would normally wait years to do. It allows o e to operate without the burocratic burocracy and lethargy that permeates government sector work in South Africa. War allows one to sit in the evening and unwind with a group of men, not allowing a language barrier to intervene. With no sounds of shells exploding the ambiance tends towards the surreal. Sharing photos of the ruins of the Byzantine Palace that I visited en route to work and the houses in the small alley-ways that are relics from the Ottoman Empire transports one away from the stark reality.
They are at war. There is an imminent danger of them being killed, either by mortar fire at home or the frontline. Some even face the prospect of being shot on site by the very ones entrusted to protect them.
They are at war and we get to benefit. Yet they still welcome us with warmth and open arms.