Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Where do our eyes come from?

I was talking to our eye surgeon at breakfast and casually asked, impressed, if he was going to be doing his usual 30 cataracts today. He said no, as he also had some other surgeries today including crossed eyes and eye removals.
So, of course that got us onto prosthetic eyes and where they come from. In more developed nations, when a crossed eye is fitted a great deal of time, expense and trial goes into finding the right color, etc and so there are extra eyes available for people like us who can use them for our patients.
Don't you think it is interesting?
So much goes on that I am totally unaware of and a casual conversation at breakfast may have me pondering it many times during the day.
Another changed life...

Friday, 13 June 2008

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

What a privilege. A couple of weeks ago we met President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. She had
graciously invited us to come. We wanted to express our appreciation to her for all her help with our times here over the last few years and to update her on the progress of the field service, in particular the reconstruction of a health clinic she had specifically asked us for help with. We presented her with photos of the clinic, showing the whole process and where we are at present. She was thrilled to see the changes. We also shared stories of patients on the wards who have particularly touched our hearts.

In the past few weeks, we have undergone various screenings in the rural areas of Liberia, looking for people who may be helped. As our surgery schedules have been filling up, we still have openings for maxillo facial patients, patients with cleft lips and large facial tumors. With the help of the UN we have been to Greenville and they have already transported patients up to Monrovia. One was a young boy with a rapidly growing cancer. We have supplied Chemotherapy to a local Catholic hospital here and they have agreed to supervise the treatments while the child stays in Monrovia with a grandmother.

When asked if there was anything more she might like us to do, she thought, only for a moment, and then replied that she had recently met a man with swollen legs. What did she do? She did what we, as crew, are supposed to do. She had a picture taken and now we can give the photo to our Health Care Services department and they can determine if we can help. It says to us – one person counts to her. Later she asked if we might help a local clinic. We are looking into that.

She talked about some of the needs she sees, specifically among the women in the rural communities. She has a great task ahead of her still.

I was impressed… with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf herself, for the incredible job she is doing, with her heart for her country, for her concern for the poor in the rural communities, for her courage, for her gentleness, her compassion, her graciousness. I was reminded of a title of a song I heard recently, “Mama Liberia”.

She is indeed an amazing woman!

Where We Are

Thought you might want to know where our cabin is.
We are in the middle row of windows, Deck 5 it is, and our cabin has the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th windows from the back.
Very light and great to watch the lightning from at night!

Monday, 9 June 2008

From My Desk...

From my desk this morning I see so much going on. A new receptionist is being trained. The Palliative Care is going out for the day. Theirs is a very emotional job, visiting the dying who we cannot help much physically. They change dressings and play and encourage and pray with them. Weekly they see their new friends die. The water and Sanitation team is setting out for the day. they have identified villages needing a well or needing a well rehabilitated. I hear our Hospitality people go by. They will be setting up cabins for new crew and guests. Our Security people are on duty at the gangway. One of our Agriculture trainers is on his way out. the other day he took his 3 year old daughter out with him to the village. She was standing waiting to leave with her dolly and her shovel. Very cute. She had a blast and came back to the ship very happy and just filthy, her mom told me. The plumbers are getting their job list for the day. the day workers that we hire locally are showing up. The chief Officer has just been by to see Ken regarding the play area up on our top deck. There is a visiting media Team on board at the moment and the PR dept. is preparing to take them out for the day. I see some Dining Room crew. They have just finished cleaning up from breakfast and will soon begin setting up for lunch. Soon the Housekeeping Crew will be coming by to empty trash and vacuum the offices. The Dental team has already gone out to a local hospital where they set up everyday. there will be a long, long line there this morning. The Eye Team has also already left. they go out 4 days a week to various local clinics to screen for surgeries and to train on eye Care. Someone is working on the CCTV camera. Oops, there are the Housekeeping crew, just like i thought. they have vacuum cleaners that are backpacks. And the Cafe leader just came by to see if I could help out making coffee this morning for the crew in the cafe at Break time. Ken has a meeting going on in his office. People arein and out all day long. He is enjoying the various challenges.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

A New Face

Alimou has a new face...or rather, he looks very, verydifferent.
How I would love to be in Guinea when he arrives home. After 8 years with a growing tumor, it has been removed. He will return in a few months for a second surgery and also to see if he needs to have some of the skin removed if it has not shrunken back to the original size.
I just think it is a remarkable thing.