Robert Lusby - An interpreter's story

Running time
2 min 1 sec
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We had an interpreter who was a local Rwandan. He spoke French and the local dialect. Even more so when you don't speak the language, you need to communicate with the family, and with the patient. To me, that was an essential part of what we did having good interpreters. And we had some time that we spent down at the local hospital, which was part of the whole complex. And there were some American NGOs there as well.

And we used to do a clinic down there and it was largely burns and that sort of thing. Burns are very common in third world countries, babies roll into fires in the middle of the night and all that sort of stuff. And the nurse who ran that was a lovely lady. She was a local Rwanda. She had paid the Tutsis. No, she'd paid... Let me just think. Well, she'd paid whatever the group were that came, knocked on a door to shoot her parents rather than hack them to death.

And I think actually she was a Tutsi, so it would have been a Hutu. And then she managed with her kids to escape, but she told us this story of how she had to pay, rather than have her parents hacked to death. And that was the other type of injury, of course, the machete injuries were, if they survive were often quite a lot of challenging work.

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