Saturday, May 17, 2014

Snapshot.

I'm sitting down at my desk, in my room, which is by far the coldest room on the ship (except maybe the walk-in freezers and coolers... but sometimes I wonder), with a hoodie, jeans, and slippers, and a blanket wrapped around me and a cup of hot coffee steaming next to me.  


To my left is my beloved window, where through just a few inches of marine glass I can see the dock, a bit damp from the overnight rains, but will dry quickly as the sun meanders higher and higher and the temperature rises as well.  On that dock sits four pallets of pink latex gloves that arrived on the last container... one of the many things on my to-do list for next week, the last full week for me here in Congo, is to distribute those 128,000 gloves to local hospitals, training participants, and charities. 
Snapshot from my window.  Tried to be all artisticy and turns out writing with a mouse
still does make me feel like a five year old.

You have to be careful on that dock... especially if you weigh several thousand tons.  This happened last week. 
Photo stolen off facebook... uncertain as to the original owner.
But back to next week.  Last full week in Congo. I leave in ten days - Wednesday, the 28th, and will say goodbye to Congo... for now. I do believe I will return someday.  And, as recent changes of plans prove, one should never say they will probably never go back someday.  

In the next ten days I will distribute the aforementioned gloves, along with several boxes of other surprise donations. I will drive to Dolisie to do a follow up trip on the training we did up there (which was awesome, you should definitely read about what we did on Michelle's blog here: Do you floss your teeth?  Note: we were not training on dental hygiene, just so you know...)  I will finish up with the dozen-or-so reports that have been the center of my focus of attention this last week - final project reports for all our surgical and educational programs. I will also say "see you" to many, many good friends, but I will not say goodbye and I probably won't go to the dock to wave them off, either.  Some might call that selfish, I call it survival.  I will turn in the rest of my Congo francs.  I'll take everything off shelves and walls in my cabin and secure it all for the sail.  I'll try to get some ideas written down of important things to do once I get back on my ship home after nine weeks of travelling.  And I'll pack my bags and say 'see you' to Congo and my friends here. 

A lovely local friend Catherine
Two little friends, Doreeann and Leeann, daughters of a dear local friend Stella.

This year has been incredible. It's been really, really hard. It's been full of surprises, twists and turns with a few upside down flips for good measure.  I have learned so much about so many things - about the hospital and healthcare and safe surgery and anesthesia and trauma care... about prioritizing and managing complexity and navigating a steep learning curve in a new country in a foreign language, which is not nearly as foreign as it was ten months ago.... about grace, and forgiveness, and love, and friendship, and emotion, and humanity...  It has not been easy... but it has been absolutely 100% worth it.

I spoke yesterday morning to the crew about the healthcare education program and what we had accomplished over this year. It was a pleasure to share many of the stories I had accumulated over the field service of building and running this program - and seriously, what we (the over 100 crew members it took to make it happen) did was incredible. 


There's so much to look forward to next year! I'm getting an assistant, which I'm super excited about, and I'm really looking forward to growing and developing and improving - this year I feel like most of the time I was just surviving... I'm so excited to not just survive next year but to thrive, to bring the program to even a higher level, to grow partnerships with other organizations and make a name for Mercy Ships in the global healthcare education arena.  Seriously... how did I get so blessed to get to do this? This year was a new job in a new country... next year, a job I love and know (at least half the time I know what I'm doing) in a country that I know quite well... oh, so exciting! 

Absolutely must take an opportunity to publicly thank Dr. Michelle and Keith. Enough good things cannot possibly be conveyed in words on a blog, so I will just leave it as THANK YOU.  It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you this year.

So there you have a bit of a rambling snapshot into life today.  This morning I'm finishing up some reports, and this afternoon I'm taking off to enjoy the day.  For the first time in weeks I feel like I can actually breathe, and it's a lovely feeling.  I love my job, but I'm also very much looking forward to a break! 

Wherever you find yourself today, seek out the joy in it. - Krissy

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