Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The beginning of exciting things

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!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Christmas Break

Over the break that I stopped blogging, I went on a LONG journey!  I flew to Australia and went to my brother’s wedding, spent time at the beach with relatives and visited friends and family at home.  Then I flew to Austria and explored Salzburg, Munich (Germany) and Vienna with friends.  It was an amazing time off ship.  It was very refreshing seeing family and friends again, eating ‘normal’ and new food, being able to shop, even though I couldn’t find much reason to buy a lot, to walk in the parks and enjoy the sunshine without sweating much and even the 0-5C weather in Austria, wearing more layers than I’ve worn in the past 6 years!

My brother's wedding
My early family Christmas
The Christmas lights in Vienna are beautiful!
The beautiful city hall in Vienna
Visiting Mercy Ships friends in Munich
Exploring Vienna with Mercy Ships friends
I returned to the ship one week ago.  The ship in now in Lomè, Togo, West Africa.  It has been an adjustment for me being in such a new place.  Togo and Sierra Leone are very different from each other.  Sierra Leone became home quite quickly for me and my friends.  We spent 3 weeks there before the ship arrived and so by the time the ship came we already knew the area and were ready to explore on our time off.  There are gorgeous, lonely beaches stretching as far as the eye can see with freshly cooked barracuda and rice on request at the local ‘restaurants’.  The country side is hilly and lush with green trees stretching up to the sky.  The one big downer about Freetown was the horrible traffic in the city centre that would cause horrible delays.  Often going 10km would take up between 1 ½ - 2hours!  Meanwhile, Togo is flat and sandy, with not so many trees.  The traffic is almost non-existent though because their roads are very nice.  I haven’t compared the people because the outreach for Mercy Ships doesn’t start for another 3wks or so.  I’m sure I will have many great stories to tell once the hospital is up and running.
I haven't been out to explore much yet in Lome, so i have no photos yet.  But the stories and photos will come soon!  I am excited for all the things to come this year, bringing hope and healing to the people of Togo.  The outreach will be short this year in Togo, only 5 months.  The screening days are at the beginning of February, so please keep us in your prayers!


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