Just 23 days until we sail out of Congo...
When I first heard that phrase last night my first reaction was how the heck did that happen??? I mean, weren't we just talking up the excitement of a new field service in a new country and region Mercy Ships had never been to?
Time is weird here.
On one hand it seems like just yesterday we say the largest screening day in Mercy Ships history. On the other... it seems like a lifetime ago
23 days left of this field service. I do know how that happened... in a glorious collection of breathtakingly beautiful moments and heartbreaking brokenness and really hard work and joy and singing and celebration and mourning and putting one foot in front of the other, regardless of circumstance. That's how it happened.
I just finished an exhaustingly wonderful week; the final Healthcare Education course of the field service, Primary Trauma Care, and it was a privilege to host the four instructors form the UK who then facilitated the training of 26 local physicians. The course went super well, we had a lot of fun and the potential impact of what I get to be a part of? Immeasurable.
On top of running the course we also had several different VIP's on board this week with whom I had various amounts of interaction. I had a remarkable is this really my life? moment on Thursday when I was paged out of a VIP meeting because I needed to go fetch the goat thorax we had stored in one of the deck two refrigerators, and I was the only one who knew where it was and how to get to it. (They were using it to practice putting in a chest drain!)
The next three weeks will be a blur, I am sure. My office/desk looks like a bomb went off, and it all needs to be packed up by Monday (!) to go on the first container heading to Benin. They're replacing the flooring in my office over the shipyard period this summer, so everything is getting emptied out beforehand. For the next two and a half weeks you'll find me with a laptop somewhere that is not my desk! Project reports are due, project plans for Benin need to be written, patient handover completed, and follow up for a few of our education projects is scheduled in the next two weeks. There's also the big Thank You event for partners, the Thank You event for day crew, and various other end-of-the-field-service events happening...
It's interesting, because I remember this time period last year in Guinea and how sad I was... during this time of last things. This year I don't find myself feeling that as much; maybe because I am so busy I haven't had time to think about it, but also, when we left Guinea it was very unstable, whispers of conflict and tensions brewing within different groups, and I really wondered if we had left the country in a better place then when we had arrived. Here, there's no question. It's been an incredible field service here in Congo, and I believe the future is bright for this beautiful country and her people.