Dr. Benjamin Jok may now have time to root for Barcelona, his favourite soccer team, but on the other side of the Atlantic in post-war Southern Sudan a myriad of problems wait for him.

Jok returned to Canada last Monday to visit relatives after nearly three years as a doctor in a remote village in Southern Sudan.

“When I went there I was shocked. I thought maybe I will not handle that situation,” he said, referring to his time in Marial Lou, a far-flung village in Southern Sudan where he was often the only doctor.

Dr. Jok is one of 15 Sudanese Cuban-trained doctors who returned to Southern Sudan in 2006 after more than 21 years of war, thanks to the University of Calgary, Samaritan Purse — an international Christian relief agency — and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), who all supported their return.

Despite all the “luxury” in a Western country like Canada he might be leaving behind, he said he was going back to Southern Sudan because the people there are suffering.

“They call you three to four times a night and you don’t sleep…”

On one occasion Jok decided to quit and leave but he changed his mind.

He said he was making a difference in the lives of mothers who trek for two to three days to reach his hospital.

“When you see that you are saving lives, a mother goes home with her child (cured), you say ‘OK I am doing something. I am helping.’”

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