Credo: Lisa French Blaker

Intensive-care nurse, Médecins Sans Frontières, 36
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The Independent Online

I believe...

The situation in Darfur is heartbreaking. I want to shout from a mountain top until someone listens. You only have to kneel in the sand for five minutes beside me and help me give rehydration salts to yet another dehydrated baby to know this is big and bad. But I can't make anyone care.

I don't go to church but I do believe in God. It helps me make sense of things. I believe there is some purpose to my life, and I am part of something. When I am in dangerous places, there is some faith that I will be OK.

I would have been an air hostess if I hadn't become a nurse. I made the right choice.

There are bad people out there. I've had the blinkers pulled off me; I have seen the extremes of humanity. You either give in to feelings of hopelessness, or create your own little patch of hope and compassion around you. I spent nine months in Darfur with people who are working their socks off to make a difference; it gives me hope.

When I got back from Darfur I felt angry and frustrated for months by the people around me, who would spiral around in their little world of less-than-important worries. I wanted to grab them by the ears and say, "You've got it good!" I try to be grateful for what I have.

The ephemerality of the Medécins Sans Frontières life is part of its beauty and frustration. You are a very close team in intense circumstances... then it is gone.

I am a 36-year-old gypsy. My parents still hope I'll get married and settle down in suburbia, but I don't know. I've opened the door and seen what's on the other side and it's difficult to shut it.

Iraq is scary. I felt safer in Darfur, in the midst of a civil war, sleeping in a grass hut by myself, than I did in a compound in Iraq with 5,000 British military. n



'Heart of Darfur' by Lisa French Blaker (Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99) is out now

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