What Pegman Saw: Dr. Abara’s Strike

Al Jazeera News

Twelve years of schooling, five years of medical school, two years of residency—all for one purpose: to help people.

Years earlier, he’d watched his beloved Grand-Amai die writhing in pain–for the want of morphine and a kind doctor willing to travel the distance to treat her. He vowed when he got his degree he’d never let anyone suffer as she had.

Six years working at West End Hospital had proven him wrong. People in his care suffered all the time. They suffered from drug shortages, unsanitary conditions, a complete lack of medical supplies. They suffered from the scant wages paid to the doctors, so that only a handful stayed on.

He’d stayed—often spending his own meager salary on medicine and medical supplies—but it had only helped in the short-term. It was like buying Band-Aids for a sliced artery.

There was only one way to help everyone.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

This is a fictional account inspired by current headlines in Zimbabwe. To learn more, visit Zimbabwe doctors’ strike: patients bare[sic] the brunt of protests.


  1. Chilling story. I like the language. It pains a bleak picture indeed.


    1. Thanks Josh. I may need to revisit this, because I wasn’t going for chilling! When I saw how (and why) the doctors in Zimbabwe were on strike, I got to thinking of the ironic dilemma of a caregiver withholding care, and wanted to portray how that might happen. I totally missed the mark!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was thinking about how it affected the patients. I didn’t know about the larger picture of the strikes. In any case, it’s well told. You evoked an emotional response!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. […] always, thank yous to Karen and Josh for hosting. Follow the link below to read other stories or to add your own. Remember […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Karen,

    This poor doctor’s caught between a rock and a hard place. You wrote it well.



    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Rochelle. I can’t imagine being faced with such a choice.


  4. What a horrifying decision. The only way to help everyone is to withhold medical care and strike for better conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought so too! It would be hard to dedicate your life to caring for people, and then have to turn your backs on them to truly help them. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a choice! I can’t imagine wanting so desperately to help, then having that help be nothing like what you expected. You did well portraying the dilemma.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robert Mugabe left a mess; Zimbabwe used to have one of the finest health care system in Africa but due to Mugabe’s policies he made the whole health system collapsed; what a shame…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a shame. Thanks for the insight and thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved the immediacy of your story – it goes to the heart of the doctor’s experience. His individual compassion is pitted against the awfulness of these events. Great writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words! I hope you consider joining us this week Francine.


  8. Absolutely tragic, Karen. So awful for anyone so caring to have to make such horrible decision, knowing the consequences of their decision. Horrible, moving and well written

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Lynn. I can’t imagine having to put that choice in action.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just a tragedy people are forced into making those decisions

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A touching story selfless humans. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. From nativity (with good intentions) to reality (with grand intentions). I can feel a rainbow of emotions blossoming. Great story telling, Karen.


    1. Thanks Kelvin, I’m glad it worked for you. You are most kind!


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