africa mercy

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Choosing a New City: Things to Consider; Provocative Joy; Moving Home Series

Moving Home: Choosing a New City

I am thinking about home all the time these days! If you’re new here, you should know that I’ve been living on a ship for the past 3 years. Yes, a real ship with portholes, toilets that make loud sucking noises, and watertight sliding doors (like in Titanic). Three years and this season is coming to an end. Even though I only have two months left, I’ve done barely anything productive to prepare. I’ve spent a lot of time on...

My Plan After Mercy Ships? Swim Upstream

Airport life these days The man at the front of the queue went up to the airport desk clerk pointing and looking toward the end of the counter. He was describing someone –a woman, red hijab, with black polka dots. Just as the clerk hopped down to look for her, she came running around the corner with two massive suitcases on wheels. At first I thought it was the man’s wife and he had lost her, but as she rejoined her pile...

Inspiration at work on the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships

Inspiration at Work in the Africa Mercy Community

working with real people Some people are never happy. They are always looking for the next “big thing”. The next job or house will make them feel like they’ve made it. Or they’re constantly hiding. They are always trying to cover up their mistakes, defend their actions and poor decisions even when they know where the fault lies. Some people are so insecure that they can’t bear to own it because it would leave them too exposed. We all know...

Round Up Post including depression while travelling and global health

What Caught My Attention in April

I look at the calendar every day and wonder how it can really be mid-May, because it doesn’t feel like it! Here in Madagascar, the seasons are changing and we are approaching winter. It’s gotten cooler and the past few days have let down buckets of rain and lots of cloud cover. Cyclone season just ended and we finished April with an ominous cyclone with more bark than bite. I finally admitted I was depressed and increased my anti-depressives. I...

Marriage is not for the faint of heart; Provocative Joy; lessons learned; mercy ships

5 Reasons Why Marriage Is Not For the Faint of Heart

What is the appeal to sitting in front of all your coworkers and answering pop-quiz questions about your spouse? I had to explain that one to Ruben in order to get him to agree to this Not-So-Newlywed Game. However, when I spell it out, it sounds pretty sadistic actually! As I looked through the crowd at other couples that had wisely not signed up for this Not-So-Newlywed Game, I felt like they were safer facing me than I was facing...

How A Smaller Wardrobe Made Me More Grateful

This kid waded in and out of the ocean wearing underwear that may have started off as respectable briefs but had been worn through to G-string status. Actually, most of them wore only underwear in place of a swim suit. Why is this one kid even bothering to cover himself when there are plenty of kids swimming naked? At the HOPE (Hospital Out-Patient Extension) Center church service last weekend, I sat behind a little boy wearing athletic shorts with rows...

Helpless Wonder: The Result of Being Human

I turned the corner to the second half of the ward while rounding with Dr. Tertius and the team in the morning and was thrilled to see a familiar face from the dockside screening event several weeks ago. However, the thrill was accompanied by a helpless feeling because some patients have a difficult road. I was given the privilege to help with the dockside surgeon screening that happens before the patients are officially chosen and given dates. I was out there from...

The Collision Between a Cruise Ship & a Battleship

Every other Tuesday we have a massive, bright white ship pull up alongside us. This is the day you don’t want to go to the market. You don’t want to take public transport. You don’t want to be mistaken for a passenger on that ship. The Costa neoRomantica is here. They dock next to us bright and early. Passengers pile out and walk toward rows of buses waiting to take them somewhere exciting. They’ve just come from another port in...

Who Taught This Man He Is Ugly?

Andre came back to see Dr. Tertius. He had a severe neck contraction that pulled his head down. His face was twisted, as if the skin had just melted off. I told Andre that my best friend at home, who I grew up with, was also named Andre. “I think you’re my Malagasy Andre since I cannot see my American Andre while I’m here.” He smiled, one of many times throughout our conversation. My friend Andre from Rochester is one...

The Gift I Didn’t Deserve

Last Year… It was about 8 PM, and the plastic surgery patients were suffering from cabin fever after a month on board with no windows. We often took them to the outer decks after hours to get some energy out. Dylan’s grandma was holding the mobile phone to her ear and holding me tight with her free arm, while nodding toward the light blinking in the distance. That was where they had family. It was right on the beach road...