January 19, 2015

Mercy Ships: My Last Two Weeks

international travel nursing on medical mission

01/19/2015 –

As I sit on my bunk this morning, I’m letting all that has occurred during the last 8.5 weeks pour over me. It’s been a lot. There has been absolute joy and tears of gratitude, as well as tears of sadness and tears of confusion – and they have all been necessary. I’ve experienced belly laughter that hasn’t taken place in a long time, and I’ve been touched by the loss of friends going back home and the loss of patients that we were unable to help. All of it has changed my life.

I have loved working on Mercy Ships Africa. I spent my time doing 1.5 weeks in the PACU as a recovery nurse, nearly 3 weeks teaching our Malagasy day crew basic health topics 8 hours a day, and I also worked in Ward D, our Max-Fac unit where lots of miracles are taking place. It has not been a straight-line approach to nursing. As travelers, many of us are asked to be flexible and it hasn’t been any different here.

A friend wrote on my Facebook page that it looks like I’m having so much fun I won’t be able to leave, but the reality is that I will be ready to leave in 2 weeks. For me, this is no different than a travel assignment. I show up, do my absolute best to enjoy my work and my surroundings, and then leave, trusting and hoping that the mark I have left is positive and I would be welcomed back. Will I be sad? Yes, that goes without saying, but I will be excited to start my next adventure.

I think the real question is, would I come back? Absolutely! I am in the midst of praying about it now to see if this is where God might want me for a shorter stint next year. What I keep hearing is that I might come back to work strictly PACU for only 4 weeks. We will see what God/the universe has planned for me. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my last 2 weeks here, continue to pray, and ask for your prayers in helping me hear that message.

Veloma from Madagascar!

Until next time,

Lee 🙂

In May 2014, Travel Nurse Across America (TNAA) announced a partnership with Mercy Ships, as part of its ongoing philanthropic activities. TNAA sponsored four nurses to volunteer on a healthcare delivery mission in Africa. Mercy Ships, a global charity organization, uses ships – floating hospitals – to provide free surgery and dental care in impoverished countries. Mercy Ships has been in operation since 1978. The nurses sponsored by TNAA worked for eight weeks each on the African mercy ship docked in Cotonou, Benin. Follow the TNAA blog for Mercy Ships updates.