I think about writing almost every day truthfully. There is so much happening every day, all around me that I’d love to tell you about, but I get stuck. Sometimes it takes a week to simply process an experience I had weeks ago. I’m not always sure what my readers are most interested in hearing about. I think twice about revealing the disappointing experiences or the times I am sure that this life is not for me.
How do I explain that my day at patient screening/selection two weeks ago left me feeling like I had no heart in me, lacking in compassion…?
How do I relate to you my first day on the patient wards, when it left me very uncomfortable and truly believing that nursing here just wasn’t for me?
I have noticed several people with which I have shared my true feelings comment on my honesty. I can’t help but be honest. When I hold these things in, I convince myself that I’m the only one feeling them. And that is a lie.
So I will also be honest with my readers. Whether that is family members, or aspiring crew members, or current fellow crewmates.
I can’t cover it in one blog post, but you should know a few things ahead of time. People say that their experience on the ship changes them rather than them changing the world. I have started experiencing this firsthand.
You should also know, if you don’t already, that the social and spiritual environment on the ship is like no other place. It truly is it’s own country. Things that work in U.S. hospitals don’t work here, and in the same way, sometimes coping mechanisms, or even social interactions that work at home, don’t work here.
Experiences here can get me down, but it’s also a place where someone you don’t even know well can totally make your day.
While I work on the posts regarding patient screening and working on the wards, let me share one of those moments that made my day!
Yesterday I was off work and trying to just keep busy on the ship. I had a recipe for rice pudding I wanted to try that included some local vanilla beans I bought here. I felt motivated right before dinner and started rushing to get my materials together.
We have a kitchen reserved for us crew to make whatever we please. There were quite a few people cooking already. As I combined the milk, the rice, and the vanilla, trying to just be quick and stay out of their way, one of my African crewmates called me over. Someone had made a huge pot of rice and he invited me to try some. There were several of them squatting over this huge bowl of African heaven. That bite was mouth-watering. Full of flavor, very spicy, hot right off the stove. I told them it was delicious and went back to my rice pudding.
“Are you full?” They asked incredulously. “Well, no, but it’s ok. You made it. You have it. I don’t want to eat your rice.”
“Yes, come eat with us! There is some for you. You are part of our family, this is how we do it in Africa.”
When I told them that Ruben would smell the delicious rice on my breath and wonder where I had such a good meal, they made him a whole plate.
Things like that, happen all the time on this ship. That rice was so good. Ruben walked in a few minutes later and honestly reported that it was the best food he had in a long time.
God taking care of us in a way he knows will bless us, just through the simplest gesture of someone who just knows my name, where I work and is willing to share some food.