Vanja Kovačič is a Medical Anthropologist. After having worked for several years as a researcher at the Crash, she is now working for the Manson Unit in MSF UK.


Throughout this journey there were countless people who inspired me, encouraged me, and helped me grow. My gratitude is not limited to the people I mention here.

First, I am extremely grateful to Dr Jean-Hervé Bradol and Michaël Neuman for their contributions to the Introduction of this volume. Their insightful comments on the manuscript, and their motivation to see this project completed, supported me during the challenging moments of this journey.

I would like to offer my special thanks to Ms Michael Strange for her tireless editing and beautiful shaping of the text.

To all the participants – the patients and MSF staff – thank you for your inspiration, for sharing your stories, your enthusiasm and trust, and for welcoming me as one of you. You have not only shaped my research: you have shaped me.

A big thanks to my interpreters who worked in the field alongside me: Tania Ismail, Alaq Nabeel Saadoon, and Khuld Karam. Your invaluable contributions in facilitating data collection and your efforts in achieving good-quality translations and transcriptions have made this book a clear record and a useful tool for the future.

To Dr Israa Al Jumaily, Dr Aziz Abu Azizeh, Dr Omar Adil Abdulkareem, Dr Nadhum Duriad Nadhum, Dr Hussein Abdulla, and Ammar Abdulkareem Khalid Alshamary: thank you for your assistance in contacting patients.

Thank you to the surgical team for the many insightful and emotional moments we shared in the operating theatre.

To Gilles Brabant for sharing the results of his RSP data analysis.

To Sarah Imani for producing beautiful illustrations.

I am grateful to my colleagues and friends: Anneliese Coury, Caroline Seguin, Marc Schakal, Dr Rasheed Al-Sammarraie, and Yahya Kalilah for their openness and for the interesting debates that we had. I appreciate your co-operation and proactive attitudes. My time in Jordan and Iraq would not have been the same without you.

To my dear friends Irena Bertoncelj, Sheila Ramaswamy, Chiara Lepora, and Ana Alvarez Mingote: my life is enriched by your loyalty, wisdom, and strength. Distance never seems to exist between us, and you have been there for me unconditionally.

To all of you, I feel lucky that our paths have crossed.