Working in international development inevitably involves a lot of travel, usually to some of the poorest parts of the world, with which there come some inherent risks:

Are my vaccinations up to date?
Have I got my malaria tablets sorted?
Is my immune system going to be robust enough to fight all the infections circulating around the cabin on the long haul flight?
Will there be someone to meet me from the airport?
Will the cars I travel in be fitted with seatbelts?
Am I going to have access to potable water?

The list could go on.

It’s normally possibly to mitigate most risks. But there are always some for which you simply can’t preempt, plan or prepare, no matter how hard you might try.

This is brought home to me when I learn that my friend and colleague, Ann, has got into difficulty on a work trip to Guatemala. Apart from praying for her from afar, along with others who share her Christian faith, I feel unable to help.

Ann has contracted a rare disorder of the blood coagulation system, called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (TTP), which is causing excessive blood clots to develop in some of her blood vessels. It is deemed to be a medical emergency and it requires urgent intervention and treatment.

But what happens if you don’t realise your symptoms are serious?
What happens if you don’t know you need a diagnosis?
And what happens if you’re in an impoverished country with a woefully inadequate healthcare system and extremely limited critical care facilities?

Ann is a TTP survivor and a member of the TTP Support Network. When they asked her to share her story on their site, she willingly did so and you can read it here. If ever there was a ‘light through the cracks‘ story, this is one that’s worth the five minutes of your time it will take you to read it.

To use Ann’s own words:

I am a humanitarian aid worker and a TTP survivor, working with people affected by conflict, or disaster, or just living in poverty. It is a huge privilege to travel the world and meet so many amazing courageous people, who are affected by crisis, and do even something small to help bring them hope and support on the path to recovery … I was so worried that TTP would put an end to this. It’s been a rocky road to recovery, the exhaustion, the associated autoimmune issues I have subsequently developed, but I am back!


Photo via Pixabay


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