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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
My day in Iraq: Ophthalmologist
On Friday, 7 April, the BBC News website is asking people across Iraq how they live their lives.

Here, you can read about Tara Rashid, 40, a general opthalmologist who works in Baghdad.

I'll wake up and have coffee at about 0630.

Tara Rashid
Dr Rashid struggles with Baghdad's electricity shortages

I don't have breakfast, but I'll have a cigarette.

I smoke about a pack a day - I know I'm a doctor, but if you lived in a war zone, would you be afraid of a cigarette killing you?

After I take my kids to school, I'll go to work at the hospital.

Every morning we have a scheduled meeting with the chief of surgeons before starting work.

I treat many different types of patients in my role as a general ophthalmologist.

Of course there are many injuries related to the many explosions in Baghdad.

The key to these injuries is treating them as soon as possible, but often the long waiting list to see an ophthalmologist means that their condition deteriorates rapidly.

Most of the injuries are not from shrapnel or bullets but glass fragments from shattered windscreens and windows.

Power problems

About 3pm I rush back to pick up the kids from school; after not having eaten all day we have lunch then.

My mother, who is an excellent cook, will make something like stew, unless she is not in the mood in which case I'll pick up something from the market like hamburgers or pizza.

Then I nap for half an hour if I'm not on call at the hospital before switching on the generator.

In Baghdad we have a big problem called electricity, so we have to switch over from the national grid to our generators so that we can draw water into the house when the power goes down.

Most of my social group have now either left the country, are dead or afraid to go out

I help my child with her homework in the evening before starting work on my computer, which I will do for a few hours before watching some TV.

I like to watch the news and maybe something like The Weakest Link - the presenter is really like a school teacher.

The main thing in the evening is the electricity - most homes in Iraq are now linked to private power firms as well as the grid and we pay them to give us power when the grid is down.

When the electricity is down, I can't do any of the things I like to do - swimming, shopping or parties are all impossible.

Kidnap fears

Socialising is difficult.

Before the 1991 war in Baghdad we used to have parties that were excellent but after the embargo things slowed down and it became dangerous to go out at night.

Most of my social group have now either left the country, are dead or afraid to go out.

Doctors are considered excellent kidnapping targets.

I am a Muslim and I pray but I'm not a fanatic. I pray and visit the shrines but I hate fanatics - they are a really bad thing.

At work if there is a problem between people, I tell them to sort out their problems outside - as far as I'm concerned we are all one nation.


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