Video: Making a difference in Chad

By Ann Curry
NBC News
updated 3/23/2006 7:57:24 PM ET 2006-03-24T00:57:24

American doctor Peter Reynaud is a long way from home. The Louisiana native volunteers with Doctors Without Borders where few dare to go — the increasingly dangerous no-man's-land between Darfur in Sudan, and Chad.

Almost daily come new reports of violence against blacks, blamed on the Janjaweed — Arab militias the U.S. says are supported by the government of Sudan.

While NBC News was with Reynaud, we saw:

— A 55-year-old man shot in the knee: "He has lost a lot of blood," said Reynaud.

— A girl who says she was shot by Arab men on horseback: "One bullet went straight through her arm," said Reynaud.

— A young boy wounded by a grenade after a Janjaweed attack: "He had wounds to his foot, his leg and his other leg," the doctor said.

The boy shed a tear but didn't utter a sound as his dressing was painfully changed.

"All the violence makes me angry," said Reynaud. "We have enough problems to deal with, with just the malnutrition, with just the poverty here. And why hurt young girls who went out to gather firewood? Why hurt children?" 

Reynaud came to Chad with determination but not much else.

"I didn't know a lot about Chad," he said. "Just what you'd read in the encyclopedia."

Has he had second thoughts about being in this particular region, given that the violence is spilling over the border?

"I think it's very important for us to be in this region," said Reynaud. "As far as my personal safety, no, I've never had any kind of worry about that."

He's seen tragedy before, responding during Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. Yet despite all the ugliness and violence he's seeing, Reynaud says he considers himself fortunate to be in a Chad hospital, at this time.

"Oh, I think I'm very lucky," he says. "Because I think that these are big problems, but I think coming here and working here, I'm working for the world that I want to live in.”

Peter Reynaud — a doctor on the front lines of brutality, fighting for a more humane world, one patient at a time.

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