An avid soccer-player, 10-year-old Fatkhi has been sitting on the sidelines since he received a hard blow to his leg during a game several weeks ago.
The injury to his leg became infected and painful, so Fatkhi had to forget about playing. With only one medical assistant serving the 6,000 inhabitants of his village, Harun (about 40 km north of Ed Damazin), the boy had no choice.
Oblivious of Fatkhi's plight, UN military observers chose Harun for a temporary field-base as part of a patrol plan. While communicating with local people during a routine patrol, they learned about the low medical supply in the area, and were asked to help.
Among the group of locals was Fatkhi. The UN patrol had no doctor, but patrol members cleaned and bandaged the boy's wound. They promised to bring a real doctor with them next time.
Three weeks later, a new patrol moved to Harum village. Captain Gdmo Yousif, a Pakistani military doctor, was included in UN patrol crew.
"It was a hard day for all of us," the doctor said. "Three hundred inhabitants were inspected and all of them received medical supplies. We found that the most frequent diseases in that region are malaria, diarrhoea, diabetes, worms, allergies and eye illnesses."
Dr. Yousif recommended that people visit a doctor in Ed Damazin, but he knew the trip would be very expensive for most of them.
Ibrahim Arbab Yahia, a 31-year-old local chief, thanked the doctor and UN officers. "I know you cannot solve all our own problems, but we try to cooperate with UN."
Children in Harun village told the UN officers about Fatkhi and his strong desire to return to the sports team. After three weeks, the boy's wound had improved and he sought the doctor's permission to play soccer again.
But Dr. Yousif was firm, stating that the patient needed more time to recuperate. Soccer can wait for future victories, he said.