Friday, 24 October 2014

Under a Blanket of Stars

We are hours away from ending this sail. I'm standing under a blanket of stars, a tropical wind blowing in my face reminding of where we will pull into harbour tomorrow.
Only about 48hrs ago did our journey become smooth. We spent days and days rocking so hard that it was actually impossible to sleep at night. The newer iPhones have a tilt metre which show you the degree at which your world is tilting. Well with our ship rocking and rolling, iPhones were out everywhere measuring our list. During the rockiest days we would consistently list to about 12-18 degrees on each side. One night bigger swell threw us from 20 to even 30 degrees.
To me the days were full of fun. The morning tip was wet a napkin to put under your cup and plate so that when the ship rocks your dinner will stay on the table instead of landing on the floor. With this dramatic rocking our meal times looked like juggling acts, catching cutlery as it slid off our plates and then we would slide right past the table as the chairs slipped with us in them, backwards and forwards through the cafe. It was a hoot. I laughed so much during this that a friend actually joked that I (my voice) was the new tilt metre. Walking through the hallways was absolutely impossible to stay in a straight line. Instead we looked like pin balls bouncing off the walls. Showering you had to turn the water off a million times as not to let the water spill over the lip as it sloshed side to side. Drying your feet was virtually impossible without falling on your face. Lying in bed as night the blood ran down to your head as your body slid down the bed and then the blood ran to your toes as you shifted down to the foot of the bed. Over and over. See why the whole ship didn't sleep for three nights!?

Thankfully I have sea legs and a stomach of iron and I enjoyed being thrown around the place (except at night). We spent time on deck 8 watching the waves roll our home and throw us around like a Lego in an Olympic sized swimming pool. We saw a humpback whale breach over and over only about 50 m away from our ship home, until it was out of sight. We saw some sort of tiny dolphin jumping behind the ship as the sun set one evening. We ate popcorn every night, laughed our heads off and sung our hearts out in praise to our King.

This journey has been preparation for the nurses to be ready for the work when the hospital opens. None of the information is new to me but it is preparing my heart. Some days I feel overwhelmed with how many patients I've seen come and go from this place, each taking a little piece of my heart. Now you can understand why my heart breaks over the Ebola situation. My heart lies in my patients living in those countries.
Tonight will end and as the sun rises in a few hours time and at the same time our ship will be pulling into Toamasina (Tamatave in French) in Madagascar. It is the city that I will call home for the next eight months.
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Her people total 23 million. 90% of them live on under $2 a day. We come here not just to give free surgical care but to love them. We will love them like Jesus loves us.

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