Tuesday, 23 September 2014


This is Umar. Umar is from Sierra Leone. He was one of my patients in the hospital for some months, back in 2011. He stayed for such a long time that when I was allocating nurses their patients for the next shift, (he would be sitting on my lap) he would pick his favourite nurse to be his.
One day after we had been up on deck 7, as I gathered the patients, two boys, Umar and Amara grabbed one of my hands each to walk downstairs. Umar looked up at me and called me Mum. He had his own Grandma as his mother, but he had decided to call me Mum and that is what he called me until the day he discharged. It caught on and all the other kids and even some adults called me Mum for the rest of their hospital stay. Oh how they planted themselves so deeply in my heart.
When I think of the Ebola Virus Disease ripping through their country, destroying their families and maybe even my children who called me Mum, my face contorts with pain and tears begin to fall. My body racks with sobs for the pain this country is suffering. An unseen, deadly virus, stripping the country of their community love, as people are isolated and unable to be touched as their bodies fight a virus disease the world has never seen on this scale.

How desperately I wish I could be in Sierra Leone, not only fighting this virus but checking for those that I still carry in my heart. When the ship sails away from a country and I leave behind beloved patients, I know I leave them in God's hands. Who could be more reliable?! But how desperately I wish I could know they are ok! I long for the day I can stand face to face with them in heaven and speak to them in the same language.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Right Now

I would have thought in the past four years on the ship that I’d eaten enough boiled eggs to last me a lifetime, but when I woke up from my night shift today, it was the best snack I could think of to eat. Perhaps that’s my body’s way of telling me I’m ready to return!

Within the next week Mercy Ships will reveal the new country that my home, the Africa Mercy, will set sail to in the coming weeks. I can’t wait until it's revealed!

In the last couple of days spring has truly arrived to South East Queensland. That means I can actually wear a t-shirt outside sitting in the shade and still be warm! Those of you like me who don’t love winter will know the joy that this truly brings! I’m currently sitting on our porch swing, surrounded by a light, cool breeze, hearing the birds tweet in the trees and the leaves rustle (ok, and now the digger up the road making obnoxious noises). As the weather slowly changes a large part of me wants to stay and enjoy an Aussie spring and summer. It’s been four years since I’ve been somewhere for spring.

These weeks at home have flown by. There has been plenty of action in my life with a friend having an early baby, who is gorgeous and healthy. He is delightfully cute! By the end of the week I will have worked 35hrs in the kid’s ward, which has certainly kept me out of mischief this week. In the weeks gone I’ve also managed to squeeze in a little travel to Adelaide for a Louden girls wedding prep weekend, a trip to the beautiful Sunshine Coast with lovely Mercy Ships girls and even a flight to Sydney from Toowoomba! It was the most delightful experience flying out of my home town instead of driving two hours to the airport. There I visited more dear ship friends.

Windy day on Sydney Harbour

My sister’s wedding is only 14 days away and still plenty of organising to do (and wedding dress sewing for the busy bride!) Life has gotten so busy with all these things that my mind is focused more on being home than anything else. When I got an email from HR on the ship about details for my return, I looked at dates and counted the weeks until I might fly back to my ship home, my heart jumped a little, feeling like I was leaving all too soon. I guess I’m adaptable these days, to settle into the place to call home, wherever that may be. So much has changed on the ship since my departure back in May that I feel somewhat anxious at returning to my home. The other part of me can’t wait to be back in Africa, making a difference to lives who need a little more loving. My heart still aches for West Africa struggling through the Ebola Virus Disease. I hate sitting back and watching that unfold, seemly helpless to make a difference. I know those countries. I know the streets, the town names, the people. I know their fragile healthcare systems. The articles reporting on Ebola are not positive, but as I pray for the people, I know there are stories of survival. The latest BBC article I read from yesterday said that 55% of people with Ebola were dying. So 45% of people who’ve been infected with Ebola have survival stories. I wish I could hear them. Part of me desperately wants to join the aid teams over there, to make a difference wherever possible. For now I will wait and see where God leads me.

Right now in front of me I have family and friends, visits and catch ups, sunshine and t-shirts, coffee and good food.

 sigh. Look at that sweet face.


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