It is hard for me to condense and put into words an accurate picture of everything that has been happening and all the changes since arriving here but I will try to give a glimpse.
It has been, and will probably continue to be an adjustment living on a ship with 400 other crew members. It’s hard for me especially to have much less personal space than I’m accustomed to at home. But at the same time it is such a unique opportunity to be able to live in community with (for the most part) like minded people. I have already been blessed several times by someone’s encouraging words or thoughtfulness.
Another thing about living in community though is that is tends to show me exactly how much more selfish I am used to being. I’ve caught myself thinking “How can I be most comfortable in this situation?” or “How can I feel better about myself in this situation?” I hope that through the coming months I learn to think about others needs as easily and naturally as I think about my own.
This last week has been full of orientation and cleaning and setting up the hospital wards. The whole hospital is packed up and stored during dry dock season so it is a process to get everything ready for surgeries to start again. During the week we also got to spend some time meeting and getting to know the Malagasy day crew workers. Mercy Ships hires many local people from the country they are serving in to help with many jobs on the ship as well as being our primary translators and kind of cultural bridge in the hospital. At first I thought that we (Mercy Ships) were helping these people by giving them jobs, but I quickly realized that we would be pretty ineffective without all the help and cultural knowledge and translation that these day workers provide for us. I’m looking forward to working closely with these people and getting to know them even better.
Patients screenings for surgeries have been going on for months, we began admitting patients to the hospital yesterday, and surgeries have just begun in the last couple hours. I will be primarily working on D ward which will be both pediatric and adult Maxillofacial surgical patients. D ward is also connected to the ICU so I will take care of higher acuity patients if needed as well.
This next week will consist of more ICU orientation, a 2 day cultural training course, and maybe whale watching this weekend! I’m looking forward to my first shift on the ward next week and using my nursing skills again too.
A few pictures…