Mercy Ships: Thoughts on My First Few Days
As I lay here in my bunk reflecting on my first day of training yesterday, I’m overcome with feelings. It’s 5 a.m. as I write this, and even though I don’t have to work until 2 p.m., I’m already thinking about how my patients did overnight. I went to check on them after dinner last night, casually in my street clothes. Although it would be considered crossing professional boundaries to do so in the states, it is considered the norm here.
The ship has day crew workers, Malagasys who are employed by the ship and come on board each day happy and willing to serve us, the patients, and God in roles like housekeeping, food service, and, the capacity I’m valuing most in my job, translators. These men and women are not medically trained but are so eager to help make sure our patients, their families, and our medical staff are all able to communicate clearly, albeit simply. I’m even learning to speak some Malagasy from one particular interpreter who is smart, funny, and eager to learn and share.
Together we are making a huge difference in the lives of others, and they are making a difference in mine. Now off to the gym before breakfast and a quick trip to the local supermarket with a new coworker and friend.
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.