RAF Chinook in Afghanistan

Blog - Cpl Lewis Macleod

Corporal Lewis MacLeod

Cpl Lewis MacLeod I’m an RAF Reservist based at RAF Leuchars in Scotland. I’m normally a nurse in the NHS so I’m out here doing my day job, currently as a ward nurse at the hospital at Camp Bastion.

My first impressions of this country are that although they say this place is a desert, it’s actually a massive bowl of clinging, cloying beige dust that gets everywhere. The sandstorms (“duststorms?”) look like fog, but burn your eyes and choke you. The other peculiarity of this place is the noise, Helicopters sirens, aircon units constantly hum and gurgle and there are people speaking a hundred different languages - this place is truly multinational.

The hospital deals with ISAF personnel and Afghan civilians caught up in the conflict, but everyone is treated exactly the same regardless of where they come from. The Geneva Convention is taken very seriously out here. It can be challenging working with the injured children at first, but fortunately your skills kick-in enabling you to deliver the best possible care. The language barrier is another issue, but the interpreters are very good, and I’ve picked up a little Pashtu already. The hours are very long, and some of the injuries are truly challenging, but the work is extremly rewarding.

There’s a good gym right next to the accommodation, so I’ve managed to keep up a good fitness programme. The food can be a hit or a miss affair – there’s only ever one vegetarian option and it tends to all be the same veggie mince variant every day, but there’s a big selection of meats for everyone else.

I’m one month into my tour, and I’ve got 2 months left to go. So far so good!

Corporal Lewis Macleod - Blogg Wk 5

Found out that my partner is due to be deploying in January next year, so have contacted my squadron to volunteer to come back out again. I really don’t want to be stuck at home while she’s out here having all the fun! It’s also my daughter’s birthday soon, so I’m going to have to sort something out online for her.

Work is busy, but we’ve been joined by some more American nurses, who all seem really nice, we’ve got a great team going here.

Have lost loads of weight out here, which is great, my muscles are really sore from all the time I’m spending at the gym. It’s great to actually see it paying off though!

Photography: RAF/MOD/Crown Copyright 2010.

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