Toorniba Island

Valerie glanced over her research notes a few last times as the plane circled and descended towards Toorniba Island. This was the climax of her life right here. She would spend a little less than a  year here on the island in hopes of finding a cure to a new disease that had plagued the Toornibans for the last fifty years.

Little help came to Toorniba with their plight for a couple of reasons. They were isolated away on an island. While the cause of the illness was unknown, what was known is that it wasn’t airborne. Another problem was the temperament of the Toornibans themselves. They were a primitive people and would oftentimes turn on one another and more often on outsiders. Many brilliant scientists, doctors, and humanitarians had already lost their lives in the initial years of attempting to help the island. This lead to the government deeming travel to the island a high risk and pulling all funding and efforts of aid.

Valerie was the first doctor returning to the island in the last three years. She had a gut feeling this was going to be the time the disease was figured out and a cure was found.  Counting the dangers lower than the rewards of helping these people she pushed on in love. After the little bi-plane dropped her off on the beach and departed, there she was alone with her supplies and a map.  It would be a two day hike to the original “command hut” that had been set up years earlier.  The majority of her equipment to be used was already there and would always remain so, the government never deemed a return trip to recover their lab equipment feasible.

After an easier than imagined two days hiking Valerie reached the command hut. She immediately went to work firing up generators, connecting cables, and establishing satellite communications. After two hours or so, everything was up and operational. Valerie picked through some of the prepackaged food, and got ready for bed; she had a big day ahead of her tomorrow.

Valerie wasted no time getting to work that next morning. She went to the central village area and announced her arrival. She began to work on establishing relationships and trust with the tribe. Her heart was broken by the ghastly sights of those with the plague. The tribe had taken to calling it “Teetwa” translated to mean “fruit head”; this was due to the effects of the disease being mainly in the way that it would begin to turn the skull into an almost gelatin like state.  It was a slow painful death for the patient.

Nine long months. Nine very long, hard months had now passed. They were not in vain though. Not only had Valerie discovered that the disease was being caused by the Halvane plant that was an essential source of fiber for the Toorniban people, but also a mineral in that would counteract the effects. It was late in the night now. She had ran the tests so many different times and so many different ways that her head was spinning. She had to be certain that her results were correct. She didn’t want to seem a fool upon her return home and she didn’t want to give the islanders a false hope. She was sure of it though, she was sure she had found the cure. The only thing to do now was plan her Nobel prize speech and get some sleep. She would share the life changing news with the leaders of the Toornibans in the morning.

Valerie’s legs were thrown down in front of the crowd gathered early in the morning at the village square.  Her arm’s were tossed to either side. Finally her head was held up high for all in attendance to see. The woman holding the sack that contained the remains began to speak,

“Are we not free people? We did not ask this woman to show up here. We were merely going about our lives, doing whatever it is we so desire, and she shows up. Have we no say in the matter? She spoke of helping us and of making things better, but would anything really be better with her here? She was going to run out of food in her little hut and would soon be looking to us for food. We were going to have to invest time in showing her our ways so she could survive. She claimed she was going to eventually leave, but children like her always say foolish things. She was forcing her way into our lives and tearing away from us our choices. I couldn’t allow that to happen, so I made a choice.”

Valerie was never able to share her cure, she was never able to enrich and preserve the lives of so many people in this world, but at least the people of abortion island, I mean Toorniba island, had a choice in the matter.


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