Update from Dr. Tom in Nuba

Hello from rainy Nuba.  Finally getting some good rain on this end after a dry start.  Nasima spent the day planting peanuts.  Francis is in a neighboring village this week visiting his cousins.  He thinks he’s a big man now but he doesn’t realize we still have to wipe his butt for him.
I’ve been having some problems with my back this past month and now some weakness in my right foot.  Probably have a herniated disc that will need some attention.  I’m planning to go to Nairobi in mid September and get an MRI of my back.  Depending on the findings, may need surgery so tentatively planning to go to the US sometime end of September.  Aurora announced they’re going to have the ceremony in Venice in mid October – I’ll try to make that but depends on how the back is doing.  Actually feeling a bit better these past few days and thankfully able to keep working at the usual pace.
The ceasefire here is holding and peace negotiations are still ongoing with the North.  I’d say the film definitely helped to raise awareness not only in Khartoum but in the west about the situation here.  Envoys from the US, UK and Norway were in Kauda a couple weeks ago to monitor the process.  We’ve been really busy this year – with the ceasefire, many patients are coming from the north – that all know about the hospital and are doing to check us out.  It is a great relief to be able to be with Francis and not have to shuttle him to a foxhole every time we hear an airplane overhead.  We hope he never has that experience.
There’s been a bit of a hiccup locally – about a month ago some fighting broke out between the two local Nuba sub tribes – Tira (Nasima’s tribe) and Toro (tribe of Ryan’s wife).  Really crazy and inexplicable as the issue seems to involve just two farmers over some land.  Anyway, several were killed and we’re just now trying to get things back to normal.  Ryan and family have been here in Nuba for the past couple months and we will not be able to see them because of this problem.  Pretty calm now but people still afraid.”