Friday, October 20, 2017

Africa Mercy - A New Beginning: One Nurse's Story

My friend Marilyn is in Africa again serving as a nurse on the Africa Mercy. She emails me and I share her words with you. Afraid I'm quite behind on her posts, but I know that some of you have followed her amazing adventure and would miss hearing her news. For those of you who know nothing of  Marilyn's story, the Africa Mercy is a hospital ship that travels the African coast with a crew of nurses and doctors. They come from all over to give of their time as volunteers. They are such a blessing and it just blows my mind how wonderful they are in their outreach. The emphasis has been on much needed eye surgery. They are headed for Cameroon,  in West Africa.

 "A New Beginning"

"In one week I will be returning to Mercy Ships for a field service in
Cameroon.  Am I excited?  Oh, yes!  Let me tell you a bit of background
now, because once I get there, we will hit the ground running, and it
might be a while before I can write again.  (And while I’m thinking
about it...if you would rather not receive these group emails, just let
me offense will be taken...I’d rather not clutter up your
inbox if you don’t actually want to hear this stuff.)

Cameroon is in West Africa, just below Nigeria, right at the bend.  It
is a poor country, lacking in medical care for most of the population.
Our ship, the Africa Mercy, provides free surgeries of several types,
including cataract surgery.  Apparently there is a large need for
cataract surgery--the government of Cameroon wants us to do twice our
usual number of surgeries.  That means restructuring the team and
devoting two operating theaters to the task this year.  It is exciting
to think of the thousands of lives about to be marvelously impacted by
the restoration of sight.

One of the changes that impacts me directly is that I will not be living
on the ship.  Bursting at our seams, Mercy Ships has set up two team
houses for some of the crew who work mostly off ship--the eye clinic,
the dental clinic, and the Hope Center (for patients in rehabilitation
after surgery). Each team house will hold about 15 people, and that’s
where I will be living this year.  That will certainly be different...I
have a lot of questions, but I’ll find out what that’s like soon enough.

My job on the eye team will be different this year, too.  I will be
Senior Scheduling Nurse instead of working with the patients on the day
of surgery.  So, there’s much I don’t know about my job as well as my
living situation--it’s an adventure all around.  I think that my tasks
will be primarily administrative--working with the schedules for the
clinic evaluation before surgery, surgery itself, and for post-surgery
follow-up.  I think that I will be working in the off-ship eye clinic
some days and at various screening sites on other days.  I will be
seeing a greater volume of patients than I ever have, but seeing them
much more briefly.  I have no idea if this job will be as satisfying and
full of great stories as what I had before, but it’s a job that needs
doing, and I have the privilege of doing it.  What more could I ask?

Seven months.  Tropical, rainy, hot and humid.  Living on land instead
of the ship.  Working in various locations.  Battling traffic to get
there (not me driving!).  New role and responsibilities to learn.  It’s
an adventure, and it starts next week!


  1. This was exciting and interesting to read, thank you for sharing with us.


  2. Happy to share her adventure... Thanks!


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.