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In 1987 Mike Robbins, a 30-year-old London journalist, decided on a change of lifestyle and signed up for two years as an overseas volunteer. Some weeks later he found himself standing with his luggage in the middle of a featureless baked-earth plain in Eastern Sudan. It was over 100 deg F in the shade. And there was no shade. This is Robbins's account of the two years that followed, working with the Sudan Government in the last months of a failed democratic experiment, as the country coped with hundreds of thousands of refugees in the aftermath of the 1980s famine. But it is also a personal account of life as a development volunteer in a surprising, sometimes inspiring, country.