Monday, June 11, 2012

Au Revoir

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days 
Hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

     Goodbye Africa Mercy.  Goodbye Lome.  I don't want to leave, but I can't stay.  I'll miss you.  But I have the friendships and stories to last a lifetime.  Thanks for the memories.  Au revoir mon ami.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Almost Done

     Its crazy to think that five months have passed.  Time passes differently here in Africa.  Some days will drag on, but most fly by.  The part that makes the days all blur together is that each day is full of so many different things that they can seem to be shorter.  There is always something to do, places to go, and people to see on board.  I will miss my friends on board and off-ship.  Especially my African friends.  There can be such a cultural difference and misunderstandings and laughter.  My favorite thing that they will tell me is to "shake your body for the Lord!" at the dance parties.  African accents are now much easier for me to understand, though there can be difficulties sometimes...

     The markets are bustling with people everywhere and it is easy to get irritated when they grab you or thrust whatever they are selling into your face and hissing at you to come over here.  Yet I've learned to play the game.  It is a complete game to them, to see how bad they can rip you off, how little they think you know.  So when I start playing by their rules and "become Togolese", they know you know.  One of the highest compliments that I have gotten is when a lady selling dresses at the market was arguing with me about the price and started laughing, saying, "you are Togolese, you are too stubborn!"

     One of the things that I will miss the most are the marriage proposals that come randomly and frequently everywhere you go.  From the taxi drivers, zemidjan (pronounced zimmi john) drivers, passersby, etc.  Walking along the street the conversations can go something like this:
African man - "Bon soir!  Ca va?"
Me - "Ca va"
African man - "(something in French or Ewe)...marry me?"
Me - "NO"
African man - "porquoi? porqoui?"
Me - "Goodbye!"

     I want to thank all of my supporters who made it possible for me to experience all of this.  It literally would not have been possible without all of your prayers and support.  The people who send are doing just as much as we who are sent.  I have enjoyed and learned so much while I have been here.

Ken, Carmen, and I with all the Galley Dayworkers

Saturday, June 2, 2012

60 Minutes

      60 Minutes was filming on board the Africa Mercy!  The crew was told about a month and half ago that the filming crew would be coming, and filming wrapped up last week.  The crew was banned from discussing it with anyone or on anything until just recently.  60 Minutes filmed quite a bit - roughly 1,800 minutes of footage.  They focused on the hospital, but also got a lot of footage of daily life.  When the camera was rolling around the dining room, it was the cue for me and some friends to get out of there.  But,  I was in the Galley when Ken gave the tour to Don Stephens and then I was on the dock when they were filming during fire the drill.  So that means I've got about 1/18th of a chance to make it into the 12 minute program that will air this fall.  It will be so cool to watch it and point out the people I know!!

Dental Clinic


     On Wednesday I had the opportunity to visit the Dental Clinic, my first day and its' last day.  My friend Ben was also there for his minor job as assistant Dental Sterilizer.  I was able to come because the Dental Team Coordinator, Sieh, had promised me that he would work out a day that I could come.  So at 7:30am sharp I met the Dental Team in Midships for their devotions and met the people I did not know.  Around 8:15 or so we headed out to the Land Rovers and left for the clinic.  Once there, we met the nine dayworkers and had devotions with the entire team.  Then Ben started sterilizing with Rosemary, and everyone headed down to the 2nd floor to start work.  Joyce and Abdulai worked admissions and the two dentists, dental hygienist, dental assistants, and dayworkers prepped for the patients.  I was told that they did not have a job for me, but that I was free to observe.  Which after about 3-4 hours of observing and lunch, turned into assisting.  Joan, one of the dentists, asked if I wanted to take over Devo's job of assisting. Why not?  So I took charge of the suction tube and was able to see even better. 

Pulling Teeth!

     Most of the work was pulling teeth.  Some teeth (the more rotten ones) came out really easily, but there were the stubborn few that had to be sectioned.  Once the tooth came out and the hole was cleaned, cow tendon was packed inside, the gum was sutured if necessary, the patient was given pain meds, explanations on how to take care of their mouth and sent on their way.  A patient came in who had serious infection in both jaws and needed to have a lot of teeth removed.  I pulled out 5 of his teeth.  It was like pulling a nail out of wood, but the pus that came out after the tooth was gross.  I was so thankful for the dental care that I have received back home.  

     After the last patient, the clinic was partially dismantled and packed up.  The rest of the packing will be completed next week.  I had fun while helping with Devo, Mawu, and Dodji.  Devo had taught them a hand slapping game and paper, rock, scissors so we were playing that off and on.  We had a lot of fun!

Rosemary is the Dental Team Sterilizer, basically she works in the hot and sweaty part of the clinic


Devo, Mawu, and Joan