This week we had about 45 new and some returning nurses come to the ship! It has been so exciting this week to be with them during their orientation, seeing their nervous anticipation and excitement for what is to come. I’m so excited to share with them this new, unique experience and to see them fall head over heals in love with Africa. Yesterday when our ward supervisor and friend Kirstie was standing up in front of all the nurses, new and old, she asked all the nurses who’d been on the ship in Sierra Leone to stand and then stay standing if they had extended their time on the ship from what they had originally planned. Not one nurse sat down! I find that so incredible! Of course some people are called back to their countries and jobs, but I feel such passion for this place that I am so proud of these nurses that continue to give.
Today I had the wonderful opportunity of bringing our first patients for 2012 Togo outreach on board. I worked with a small team of nurses doing vital signs, medical history, drawing labs (blood), getting x-rays and CT scans. These patients have been waiting two years, since the ship was in Togo in 2012, for surgical treatment. They will be some of our first patients for surgery when the hospital actually opens on the 5th of February. Our big screening day is on the 1st of February and my job that day is team leader for taking all of our patients’ medical history. We expect about 2000 people to come and wait in line. Unfortunately we don’t have surgical space for that many patients and many of those people don’t have conditions that we can actually help. Please pray that the right patients that we can help would come to our screening day. We hate to say no to people and can only pray for those and turn them away. But we can say yes to a few hundred!!!
Over the last few weeks I have worked with a small but dedicated group of nurses unpacking the hospital. We had a wonderful Mercy Team come for 10 days and work solid days of hard work unpacking and carry heavy equipment and beds to the right places! They were a huge blessing and gave us a big head start for the year.
Seeing patients’ beds made up ready for them and things put in their proper places makes me so excited for the next weeks! It’s not long now til we will have wards full of patients receiving surgery that they having being dreaming of, but not daring to hope anyone could do for them for free! And what a privilege it is to be a part of something so amazing! I have great expectations for God to do amazing things this year!