Friday, 26 September 2008

Floating Blood Bank

Today I gave blood.
On the ship we are rather like a floating blood bank. It is truly unique. If you wish to be a blood donor, you can sign up, have your blood tested and if it is O.K., you can choose to be available. So I knew this month I was rather 'on call'. Yesterday I found out they would need me today possibly, so I stayed on board. This morning, when a certain patient went in for his surgery, I was called. we do not have a way to store it, so pretty much it went from me to him. A young man in his 20's named Jacob.
When else can you do something so important by doing nothing except lie there?
Truly amazing!!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Three in a Bed!

Three nights ago at around 4 in the morning a mother of a young patient went into labor and a baby girl was born. Despite a little pressure to name her baby Mercy, she is called Nancy and she is beautiful. She weighed in at around 4 pounds 9 ounces.
Now there are 3 people in the bed!

Monday, 15 September 2008


This is Garmeh.

She is an amazing woman. She has been on board at least three times for the VVF female surgery that we do. Vesico Vaginal Fistula surgery. For 27 years she has been leaking urine continually. Today she is dry. Her problem was due to obstructed labor, when she was in labor for days and days. Her baby was born dead. During those 27 years, she also spent one entire year in the local hospital. I cannot tell you the hazards of that alone. She thought she was the only one with that problem.

Garmeh found out we were doing surgeries for women just like her when she brought her uncle to the ship for a cataract surgery and that very same day, we were screening women for the VVF surgery. A coincidence? I do not think so.

Recently on PBS, Nova showed a documentary about women just like Garmeh, called A Walk to Beautiful. You can find our more about that at
I believe you may be able to watch it online.

I had the privilege to be part of the team that took Garmeh home. Her home is blue, the only painted home in the village. And she has flowers growing around it which is very, very rare. It seemed a shining light to me.

Scissor, bags and Madame President.....

Today I was reading a book and found this great description of fabric. It could just as well have been written about the great fabric I see here in Liberia.

“…the patterns were loud or subtle, anything could be on them: patterns of fashionable shoes, perhaps, or a mobile phone print – this was very popular, as were sky scrapers, electric irons, kettles and radios. Flowers, animals and trees were rare – the preference was abstraction or abstract impressions of modern things. Like lawn mowers. Then there were travelogue prints – Sacré Coeur patterns, Saint Peters, the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, Arc de Triomphe…There were the special celebration prints; you could tie the Pope’s face round yourself, or (in Liberia, the President) or you could have a run of cloth specially made celebrating your grandfather’s seventieth birthday or funeral, or your son’s graduation, or praising your candidate for local office.” From a book on Benin titled Show Me the Magic by Annie Caulfield

I have seen here electric fans with cords, here in a country with no electricity. Lipsticks, Madame President, Cups of coffee, coffee tables with lamps, Jesus saying Come to me…, Mary saying she is the Immaculate Conception. Sometimes I think I should not drive in this country as I am fascinated by all the fabric that I see. I do enjoy it.

Ken's Mom

STRATHAM — Marjorie Edith Cleary Berry, 91, died Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, at Exeter Hospital.

She was born in 1917 in Dorchester, Mass., the daughter of Charles W. Cleary and Gertrude (Brayden) Cleary. She grew up in Wollaston, Mass., and graduated from Bridgewater Teachers College in 1938. After moving to Stratham to teach, she met and married Robert S. Berry in 1941.

She is survived by four children, William S. Berry of Bristol, R.I.; Gertrude B. Guth of Wallingford, Conn.; Kenneth R. Berry of Mercy Ships, now serving in Africa; and Donald B. Berry of West Springfield, Mass. There are 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

She was predeceased by her husband, Robert S. Berry, and a daughter, Kathy Laurin.

The Berry family would like to extend its appreciation to the staff at the Exeter Hospital and Exeter Health Care, who took exceptional care of Marjorie, and to the community of Langdon Place, where she made her home.

WE REMEMBER: "Marge" was a past member of the Stratham School Board, a trustee of the Exeter Hospital and a member of the Board of the Rockingham Co. Community Action and Head Start Program. She was instrumental in bringing child and family services to the Seacoast region, serving on its board for some years.

As a communicant of Christ Church in Exeter, Marge served in many capacities. She taught Sunday school, served on vestry and altar guild, and was the first woman lay minister. On the Diocesan level, she was involved in leadership training, was an Episcopal Church Women officer, and was the first woman to be elected to the Standing Committee for the State of New Hampshire. She was also one of the first women elected as deputy to the General Convention.

SERVICES: There will be no calling hours. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at Christ Church, 43 Pine St., Exeter. A luncheon at the church will follow the service. Burial will be in the Exeter Cemetery, Exeter. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Christ Church Memorial Fund, 43 Pine St., Exeter, NH 03833, or to Mercy Ships, P.O. Box 2020, Lindale, Texas 75771. Brewitt Funeral Home, Exeter, is handling arrangements. To sign an online guest book, visit