The sun will come out tomorrow... make sure you have sunscreen!

Monrovia Travel Blog

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The VVF ladies, Drs Steve and Chris, the midwives and nurses

Well, a whole week has almost come and gone here on the ship.  Thought I would do  little update to let you know I'm still alive and well here on the Africa Mercy.  Currently, I'm in the midship lounge watching I think rugby on tv, but right now its 2 guys in inflatable balls being chased across the field by a shark, I'm really not watching, so I'm as confused as you are. 

Anyhoo, I'm on call today, which means I carry around a pager so if they need to do a surgery today I'll be the one to do it.  That also means I can't leave the ship.  Kinda sad really, but I'm making due.  Gives me an opportunity to do nothing for a bit. 

This week has gone by fast.  I spent the entire week doing VVF surgeries, repairing fistulas in women so they are no longer incontinent.

My bunk is the one on the top, the space is very small for two people
  The fistulas were usually formed when the woman goes into labor and becomes obstructive.  She labors for a day or two and the baby usually dies.  The pressure from the fetus on the birth cannel causes fistulas to form.  We try to fix those fistulas to allow them to be dry.  Its an interesting procedure.  Twice this week we had a Dress Ceremony, a party where we celebrate the new lives of these women who have become dry.  We give them a new dress, a Bible, a mirror and soap.  We dance, sing, laugh and cry with these women.  Its amazing.  These women have gone through so much, the death of their baby, their husbands leaving them, being shunned by their community and then being able to regain much of that is often overwhelming to these women.
My 6 berth cabin, the little alcoves off the hall is our bunks (mines the second on the left)
  One woman told us that she prayed everyday that it would rain when she went to church, that way the seats would already be wet and she wouldn't be ashamed.  Another woman said that she had many failed attempts at repairing her fistulas and was thinking about killing herself, then she heard about Mercy Ships and decided to give it a try, what else did she ahve to lose?  These women are strong as they are beautiful. 

Work has been going steadily, we do about 3-4 cases a day and each brings their own challenges.  We start about 8am and are done usually by 4.  We get creative with our cases, we've been using eye packs to do vaginal surgeries (for those that know whats in an eye pack as opposed to a vaginal pack can understand what I mean)  Two completely different parts of the body there.  Anyhoo, we've gotten to the point where we know what we need and how much of something we need that it actually isn't very wasteful. 

Yesterday the sun finally came out.  Its been raining continously since I've arrived, so when the sun came out and the sky mostly clear, everybody went out to enjoy it.  I had supper out on the dock and watched the big ships unload all their cargo in the harbor.  The cool breeze coming off the water was enjoyable.  A perfect evening.  Today the sun was out again and I spent about 2 hours on the dock reading and then went up to deck 8, where our new swimming pool is and sat up there for another 3 hours.  It was very windy and the cool breeze kept us from over heating, but needless to say, you don't realize how much sun you are getting until its too late.  I'm a wee bit red at this point.  Oh well.

Not sure whats going on tonight, can't go anywhere anyway.  Tomorrow I'm going to church and then its another game of settlers in the afternoon.  Thats it for now!

wanda2475 says:
Nice pics of the ship, Jen! I want to see your new pool! Is it nice? Tell us what a "game of settlers" is! It is COLD here tonight! 39 degrees! yikes! Too early to start up the furnace.
I have been enjoying your pics. Keep up all of your good works! Love from Iowa, Wanda
Posted on: Sep 08, 2008
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The VVF ladies, Drs Steve and Chri…
The VVF ladies, Drs Steve and Chr…
My bunk is the one on the top, the…
My bunk is the one on the top, th…
My 6 berth cabin, the little alcov…
My 6 berth cabin, the little alco…
photo by: ulis