Documentary Photographer & Journalist Anna Tervahartiala is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From her project “Where Laughter Turns To Tears“. To see Anna’s gallery of projects click on any image.
Where Laughter Turns to Tears tells a story of the Casualty Ward of Katutura State Hospital in the capital of Windhoek, Namibia. Katutura is a neighborhood created in the beginning of the 1960’s after the forced removal of the black population from the old location, an area segregated for black residents of the city. In Herero language, Katutura stands for “The place where people do not want to live.”
Approximately 60 percent of the population of Windhoek lives in Katutura. Katutura Hospital is the sole public casualty ward open 24/7 in the whole of Namibia.
Even though accidents and illness do not look at the time of day, the casualty is a reflection of life. “Bloodbath”, “mayhem”, “war zone”, are words used by the personnel of the hospital to describe the scene they work in as the month comes to a end. Month-ends are the time when people start receiving their salaries and have money in their pockets. When celebrations end, work at the hospital begins. This is the way it has been for years. According to the nurses and doctors on duty, the situation has only gotten worse.
In statistics numbering the trauma cases treated during weekend night shifts from January to June 2015, the highest number of cases on a single weekend stood at 529. Out of six months, four had their busiest weekend nights after the first half of the month. During night shifts there are usually 2-4 doctors and 8-9 nurses on duty.