just the beginning

I worked for eleven hours in the lab today and it seemed heaps (a word I picked up from my Aussie friends) shorter than any of my days in dining room.  There is life in this hospital again and it feels good.  Little ortho (orthopedic) kids are running down the halls outside of x-ray with their bowed legs possibly not even knowing that in a few short days they will have straight legs for the rest of their lives.

This day has been long awaited.  Three months ago on 10 August I arrived in Tenerife in the Canary Islands thinking I would be there for five short days before sailing to Benin to begin field service at the end of August.  Twenty-six days of combined sailing, two oceans and roughly ten weeks of detours and delays later THE HOSPITAL IS OPEN!!!

Up until today the last patient blood sample I had run was during the last week of May back home in New England.  Going into the summer I was excited for the break.  I love working in the lab but truth be told I was burnt out.  I’ve doubted whether or not this is the field the Lord has called me to for the long run and while the verdict is still out on that one I have almost never been more excited to run a CBC on a patient than I was today.  I am reminded why we are all here – to bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.

We are a community.  We are a family.  We are a hospital.

The first surgeries begin tomorrow and I feel like a kid on the night before a Disney vacation.  The hallways that were empty a few short weeks ago, that were my track during the sail are being revived.  There is anticipation and joy and purpose and love and fulfillment in the hallways

I cannot wait to share with you all the stories and experiences in the months to come.  Thank you for sticking with me on this long journey – this is just the beginning!

the journey thus far…

AFM docked in Tenerife

AFM docked in Tenerife

last night in Las Palmas

last night in Las Palmas

worship on the bow

worship on the bow somewhere one the Atlantic Ocean

flying fish

flying fish

at sea muster drill

at sea muster drill

driving the ship

driving the ship

dining room team

dining room team

working in dining room

working in dining room

Sailing into Cape Town, South africa

sailing into Cape Town, South Africa

sailing into Cape Town, South Africa

sailing into Cape Town, South Africa

AFM docked in Cape Town, South Africa

AFM docked in Cape Town, South Africa

line of people waiting to tour the Africa Mercy

line of people waiting to tour the Africa Mercy in Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa

Leaving Cape Town

wonky sky

rocking on the Indian Ocean

IMG_2172

arrival ceremony in Madagascar – presenting the flag to the president

arrival ceremony - traditional dancers

arrival ceremony – traditional dancers

AFM docked in Toamasina, Madagascar

AFM docked in Toamasina, Madagascar

Patient screening.  Photo Credit - Ruben Plomp

Patient screening day one – Photo Credit Ruben Plomp

Orthopedic Patient. Photo credit -  Josh Callow

Orthopedic Patient – Photo credit Josh Callow

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