My highlight of the week was definitely on Tuesday. I’ll tell you why…
A 42 year old lady showed up at the centre wondering if we could help her. She was born with a cleft lip. It’s a little unusual for me to see an adult patient (other than our staff); this was an exception. Her defect was obvious so there was not much I needed to do in the sense of examination etc. I had to tell her we would not be able to help her at our centre but that we could schedule her for a surgery on the ship in 2008 when the ship comes to Freetown. I don’t think she really understood what I meant initially so I decided to take out some before and after pictures of a little boy who has had surgery on the ship in the past. When she saw the difference in the pictures a big smile appeared on her face. It was as if she couldn’t believe her eyes. She went on to explain that she has 5 children and some grandchildren and that all of them get teased because of her defect. Very sad to hear and it made the moment even more special to realize what an impact a surgery would have on her life; and to think that she has had to walk around in shame for 42 years. I went on to show her a picture of the Africa Mercy and her eyes got even bigger. She was delighted to show her daughter and grandchild the pictures. Explaining to them that she too would receive surgery and her lip would be healed. She didn’t speak English or Krio but a local language. I had someone translate what she was saying. She said ‘I am so happy I could dance for you.’ Next thing we see is her getting up and doing a little dance of joy for us. Oh to see her face a year or so from now after surgery. It’s a privilege to play a small role in someone’s life!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
My highlight of the week was definitely on Tuesday. I’ll tell you why…
Posted by Sandra's Latest... at 9:04 PM
Sunday, April 15, 2007
You can’t quite consider the ship’s deck a lane…but you can definitely stroll along the ship's decks. Unfortunately there isn’t as much deck as there used to be on the ship, seeing as the parts of the deck that rotted had to be replaced- like on Aft Deck. However, promenade deck and the bow remain intact and it was great to walk on deck one last time. Well, they are mostly intact anyway. You know the little round pieces that fit in the deck, about an inch or two in diameter?? I found a couple of loose ones on the ship which I took home as souvenirs…a little piece of deck in my new home.
I don’t really want to get sentimental, but the Anastasis is quite a beautiful ship with a lot of character. Now, I haven’t seen the Africa Mercy yet, but a lot of people say she looks like a box. I’m sure she’ll be highly functional and provide excellent services for the poorest in Africa, but she probably won’t have the class and style the Anastasis has. Of course, I am biased having grown up on the Anastasis. Being able to walk around the ship again was a privilege, I realize that. And I know there are many people who would love to walk the decks one last time. Anyway, while walking around I noticed so many pieces of art that are probably not seen by the majority of people that walk around on the ship; pieces of art that I’ve grown up with. Hopefully these artifacts will be kept in a special place as the legacy of the Anastasis continues; maybe in a Mercy Ships museum?? The ship may be scrapped, but her legacy lives on.
I guess for me the hardest is that I will never again be able to show some one where I grew up. I know that most people don’t take others to houses they grew up in…but at least most people can drive through the town they lived in, point out a school or a favorite building etc, but that won’t be possible for me. My home will be gone, forever. Not just my ‘house’, but my community, the ship village I grew up in. It’ll be a tough place to have to describe to someone one day as it is such a unique place to live.
Here are a few reminders of the beauty of the Anastasis…
Posted by Sandra's Latest... at 11:29 PM
On Sunday we woke up very early to meet on the bow (front of the ship) at 6am for a sunrise service. We had a great time of worship, focusing on the fact that Christ has risen. It started to drizzle, and unfortunately as our service ended it started raining harder, meaning that the service scheduled to take place on Aft Deck had to be moved to the International Lounge. It was a shame because the deck had been beautifully decorated with palm branches, streamers etc. At 8am the second service started- a time to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Very appropriate of course that Anastasis or Αναστασης means resurrection in Greek. After the service we enjoyed a magnificent brunch in the Pacific Dining Room. The galley (kitchen) and dining room crew did an excellent job! Croissants, cheese, ham, eggs, bacon, fruit…yum! And the dining looked very festive. A big thanks to all those who helped out! The rest of the day was spent with various friends. A day to be thankful for all Christ has done for us and to be thankful for each other. God has put some amazing people in my life!
“Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed o’er the grave, and rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save. His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high, who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.”
Posted by Sandra's Latest... at 1:34 AM
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I hope you had a wonderful Easter. I had a very special time here on the Anastasis, which I will write more about later. It's been great to be onboard again. It really is a unique place. I've met great new people and caught up with old friends too. So it's been good. My time here is coming to an end unfortunately. I really love life onboard. Anyway, I am going to go...and enjoy my last evening here. I'll post more (including pictures) when I get back to Sierra Leone.
Posted by Sandra's Latest... at 10:14 PM
Friday, April 06, 2007
So, last June when I joined the Anastasis for what I then thought was the 'final sail', I also thought it was my final goodbye. Well...not quite. I have been given/taken the opportunity to go to the Anastasis one more time. Seeing as the ship is in Liberia, my neighboring country, a couple of us are going to the ship for Easter. I will leave Freetown tomorrow and be onboard until Thursday. It'll be great to be on the ship again; believe it or not every time I go back it really does still feel like home. I guess that's not strange after living onboard for 14 years. Anyway, this really will be the last time, as the ship will be decommissioned very soon. Here’s a picture of some of the memorabilia I have already collected. Now I am off once more to make my last journey back in time…remembering the past and finally, closing this chapter in my life. Sentimental, I know.
Posted by Sandra's Latest... at 1:46 AM
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
So, seeing as it was a public holiday on Monday and we had closed the clinic I decided to call the clinic in the morning to find out whether or not there was a line of patients waiting outside the gate...there wasn't. Good. This allowed me to enjoy the day off...some of which was spent at River No. 2 Beach. It was amazing once again.
Posted by Sandra's Latest... at 11:23 PM
Monday, April 02, 2007
Today is Sunday and believe it or not, I don't have to go in to work tomorrow. Tomorrow has been declared a public holiday in commemoration of Moulud Nabiyu which is the Muslim festival commemorating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. Apparently many countries world wide take the day off. Actually I think yesterday was the official birthday, but since it was a Saturday I guess people still want a week day off! I'm not so sure what everyone actually does...but at least for me it means another day to catch up on sleep and rest up before the week begins again. Actually it feels a bit weird to close clinic on a Monday. I hope no patients show up. If they do, I can always get a ride to the center. But in the past on these public holidays no patients have shown up. It's a bit weird really. The strange thing is that this holiday is only announced a few days in advance because it depends on the moon. Very interesting.
Anyway...my 3-day weekend...
Yesterday I went to a pool at one of the local hotels. Very relaxing. Today I went to a new church in Regent village- about a 20 minute drive away. I really enjoyed it. A Sierra Leonean pastor preached- he was very good and gripping. There are some guys from the States helping him out in getting the church started. All in all there was a great atmosphere. I'll definitely go again sometime. This evening we went out to a Chinese restaurant. Tomorrow maybe to the beach. Like I said...time to relax.
Posted by Sandra's Latest... at 12:46 AM