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Wednesday 7th March 2018

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By Annabelle Latz
Trench foot.
Yes, it actually is just what it sounds like…
A fungal-filled wounded foot, caused by excessive dampness, cuts and general all-round extreme hard going.
The phrase was coined in World War One, but the modern day version is found at GODZone Chapter Seven in the depths of Fiordland National Park.
GODZone medical crew volunteer Sharon Coombes has seen her fair share at Waitutu Lodge on Stage Three, and one by one, is relieving the pain for the suffering competitors like a champion.
“That’s been the main concern, feet feet feet.”
Sharon has been here since Saturday, and attended to a range of medical needs; cut hands, chaffing, crook stomachs, and yes, destroyed feet.
“You don’t usually have your feet in water 24/7. And as human beings on your skin, you are a walking Petri dish, you have all the bacteria there.”
It’s been some big days in the bush for these teams, so there’s a few run down systems.
“Then they’re bashing through bushes, getting cut skin.”
Sharon said a body near its limit is also susceptible to upset internal systems.
“Your gut is a sensitive organism; you’re not sleeping enough, eating enough, drinking enough, and not many people these days go 24 hours without sleeping. Your gut is one of those things that will turn on you.”
Sharon has really enjoyed her time at Waitutu Lodge providing aid and encouragement to the teams.
“I feel very humble that I can help these people, and they’re so grateful.”
This is Sharon’s first time volunteering at GODZone, and she’s thrived on the atmosphere of it all.
“All the people, all the volunteers, everybody… There’s lots of interesting stories too – there are some tales to tell, especially from the characters who have come back for their fifth, sixth, seventh GODZone..”
So… who’s up for GODZone Chapter Eight?

The photo here is of Sharon helping Matt Jeans, a member of PURE team Ataraxia, (19) who suffered a very unfortunate of trench foot.