Thursday, 19 July 2007

Funny-o

That’s the gist of the last couple of months! Funny! In Liberia, they like to add an ‘o’ to everything, hence ‘funny-o’! The fun started at the beginning of June when I popped home for a couple of weeks to catch up with family and be a bridesmaid for a very special friend. It was so great to see England in the ‘summer’. It was even quite sunny for a few days. I didn’t realise what an old lady I had become! I LOVED the flowers, sitting in the garden and listening to the birds twittering away, paddling in cooler waters, devouring fish and chips and going for days out in the rain. It was the best birthday present ever to get to spend some time with family and friends. It’s my niece and nephews that I miss more than anything or anyone ‘cos they keep changing so much! I wish people would stop feeding them or something! It’s a huge big privilege being an aunty and picking up Paddy from school and having a sleep over with Pad and Lib were definitely among the highlights. Cuddling Charlie wasn’t that bad either! I’m hoping to go home at Christmas – I’m liking this coming home every 6 months business. Normally, I would probably try and hold out a little longer, but it fits in well with the ship’s schedule so I’m not complaining!

It then took me a couple of weeks to settle back into life here. I mean, it’s home really most of the year but going ‘home home’ reminds me again how painful it is to say good bye! Sometimes I am tired of holding feelings like that! In one sense it’s really painful and I could let myself cry for days! And in another, you wonder how much you need to indulge in those feelings and instead realise that doing what God has made me to do is so exciting and just allow the cost to fade, or at least be put in perspective. Anyway, it hasn’t taken me long to experience a few stories to remind me why I just LOVE it here! It really is the best place ever… most of the time! Here’s one of them…

The other day a friend asked if I would accompany her to the airport to pick up some new arrivals. It’s about 2 hours drive away in the traffic and on a Friday evening, a 6 hour round trip is not exactly what I had in mind. I was a little reluctant, you know how it is! Trying to be all kind and in my head thinking, '…can't you ask someone who isn't already going twice this month?!'. It’s not even like I had something more exciting to do! I’m just too selfish I guess. Anyway, I'd been chatting to God about a number of things that day and he kept telling me he was going to bless me. I wondered how or what for a while and then settled to thinking it was probably me hearing things. That’s how it sometimes feels to me when God speaks specifically like that – I think I’ve made it up. Silly eh. Anyway.... we dropped some people off at the airport and then found out the plane with our arriving crew was actually 4 hours delayed! Great! I had kinda resigned myself to the fact the night was going to be a long one and as I was sitting waiting on the edge of the pavement, I was just singing quietly to myself (like I do) a Liberian song, '…by my side, by my side. By my side, by my side - I've a very big God-o and he's always by my side'. As I sang, one of the kids walking along with stuff he was selling balanced on his head giggled at me! So I got him to join in, and before we knew it, no exaggeration, there were about 30 people crowded around us, singing away. We sang different songs for about an hour!!! One of the kids shouted, 'Holy spirit, I can feel your presence here, thank you God!' - and I could feel it too. There was such joy! Even the security people at the airport wandered over to see what all the laughing was about and joined in!! A couple of people asked if they could pray for the people we were waiting for, and for their safe arrival and then we prayed for them too. As we were chatting, I noticed one of the ladies had a cataract so was able to give her the details of our eye clinic – hopefully it can be removed by one of our surgeons. So this is Africa eh! Spontaneous singing at the airport! You don’t get that at Gatwick! That’s why I love this place. At one point, we were all dancing around, clapping, praising God. By the end, we were all sitting on the road and just hanging out, chatting about life and God and how he has been such a big part of taking away some of the terror they experienced in the war. It was such a great 4 hours. Truly anointed. I don’t think I heard God wrong after all.

And another happy story: You may remember me talking about little Regina – the girl from Ghana with the big facial growth who we weren’t able to help and had been referred to an organisation in the UK called, ‘Facing the World’ to see if they could help. Well, the answer is yes! They can help! I am SO excited and thankful to God! We’re now just waiting for an assessment by a surgeon in Ghana and then can make plans from there. There’s a possibility she could even have the surgery in Ghana, by a visiting surgeon from the UK. The alternative would be to organise passports, visas etc so she can travel to the UK for the surgery. The surgery itself is fairly major and could be tricky, so please pray for wisdom as they decide where she will have surgery and also for all the details to be worked out. I spoke to her dad this week and it was so great to be able to come with good news after all these months of waiting to hear and years of suffering.

And when I’m not out singing at the airport? Well, most of the time I can be found working on our sparkly new ward. There aren’t any windows on our hospital deck, and without the back drop of the city skyline you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a  hospital back home. It is just so different to working on the Anasatasis. Everything there was very much ‘make-shift’ and here it is actually designed to be a hospital and seems to work so much more smoothly. On the Anastasis we used to have to take patients down from the operating room to the ward on a stretcher attached to a pulley system to help get them down the stairs – it was always a bit of an adventure! Now we’re all on the same floor, life seems all too easy just wheeling the patient on a trolley to their bed! I miss the quirkiness of the Anastasis but am loving the more professional set up of the Africa Mercy.

We’ve had a relaxed beginning with just VVF, orthopaedic and a few eye surgeries. It’s been a good time for everyone to get the feel of the place before the hectic-ness begins over the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to it getting busy again. I’ve been working in Recovery, orientating new staff there and spend the rest of my time on the ward. Until we get any patients in ICU, my role as ICU supervisor has been restricted to servicing some ventilators and stocking up on all we need. Whilst we don’t want anyone to be sick enough for ICU, it’s great that we now have the space and facilities should we need it.


Well, as I look out of the window I am noticing the rain has stopped! It must be the first dry saturday for nearly 2 months, so I am going to go and make the most of it! Love as always, cheerio for now, KWW

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