Title: Green Oranges on Lion Mountain aka What’s for Chop Today? by Gail Haddock
Author: Emily Joy
Blurb: When your Dad can crash his airplane into two water buffalo, life is unlikely to go according to plan. Even so, Emily Joy puts on her rose-tinted glasses, leaves behind her comfortable life as a doctor in Britain, and heads off for two years to a remote hospital in Sierra Leone. There she finds the oranges are green, the bananas are black, and her patients are very ill. There’s no water, no electricity, no oxygen, no amputation saw—and Dr. Em is no surgeon. And there’s no chocolate to treat her nasty case of unrequited love. Dr. Em’s problems are tiny compared to those faced by the people of Sierra Leone on a daily basis. If they can remain so optimistic, what’s Em’s excuse? Our green doctor is a bit of a yellow-belly, often red-faced, trying to fight the blues. But green oranges give sweet orange juice. Never judge a fruit by its colour.
My Thoughts: The Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) is an organisation which chooses to send ‘experienced professionals’ rather than food or clothing or money, to some of the world’s poorest counties. When you think about doctors’ volunteering for overseas aid you think of supermen and superwomen who can run a hospital with one hand tied behind their backs while whipping out a gall bladder with their eyes closed. Well, despite several years’ experience, Dr Emily Joy is not so much in that category; in fact she is not at one with a scalpel at all. Fortunately for the ailing Africans Emily is well supported by the other doctor and the theatre staff until she eventually her operating legs. Emily suffers from utter culture shock – lack of chocolate and hygiene being just the tip of the bucket. Salone Hospital is less well equipped than the average GP medical practice in most western countries and yet the hospital staff had to deal with cases that even with advance equipment the average ER wouldn’t even come across. Emily is horrified, she thinks the task is beyond her and just wants to go home – she feels that she will do more harm than good – but through her flippant humour becomes true commitment and when the chips come down she is in the frontline fighting for the hospital to stay open as rebel forces move through the country. GREEN ORANGES ON LION MOUNTAIN is the personal experience – warts and all – of Emily. It does not come over as an advertisement for volunteering, and certainly demonstrates that if you do them it is not going to be a picnic. What you are guaranteed though is falling in love with the local people and learning from them as much as they learn from you. There is gore in sections – but it is hard to explain about a traumatic piece of surgery without mentioning gore. There is sadness, deaths and an unflagging hope that all will be well. Emily has to co-exist with traditional healers and witch doctors; breaking the leg of a chicken so that as the patient’s leg heals so too did the chickens, was one example of two cures working side by side. GREEN ORANGES ON LION MOUNTAIN was an easy read and very interesting, it was also previously published as ‘What for Chop today?’ under the name Gail Haddock.
Rating: C – Above average. Was very readable and I really liked it.
For more about the author – Click Here