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Volunteer

A dead toddler in the hall, sheet covering everything but the toes. A four-year-old unable to stand up straight. We don't know why. In a white metal crib, a newborn looks turned inside out, raw and gurgling on its back.

All of us dressed in the same pale blue scrubs, even those of us who have no medical training. We came for penance and for something to say at cocktail parties.

I sit in the corner while my team bandages my neck. I watch the bathing of the non-verbal five-year-old who bit me. Buckets of water are poured over her head. The shimmer and rush interrupts her rhythmic hand-flapping, freezes her fingers so she has to start over again each time.

Why pick me, child? I touch the gauze at my throat.

They let anyone get on a plane to come here.

Story by:

Cindy House

7 October 2017