A bit over a week ago I was asked if I could attend a mission to Mount Frere, South Africa to fill in an urgent need for a recovery room nurse. I excitedly said yes and today I am already headed out for the mission. This is all so unexpected and it will be a very quick trip, I feel like I haven't even had time to mentally prepare. I am excited beyond belief and have been having really vivid dreams of being in Africa on a mission for the last year, so it feel s surreal as an actual trip to Africa has been nowhere on my radar!
I am bringing nothing but a back pack, scrubs, a bit of clothing, a camera and hospital gear so things are going to be quiet for the next week. My plan is to fully focus on the mission at hand and disconnect from everything else. Mount Frere is sounding like it will be a small, fairly remote town though the hospital is described as wonderful and big! I still remember so clearly the excitement I felt almost exactly 2 years ago when I found out I would be going to Guwahati on my very first mission. I literally jumped up and down on my bed and cried, I was so beside myself with happiness. Little did know how the course of my life would change so purposefully (hindsight is 20/20.) I still get that excitement before every mission knowing what an incredible opportunity is being presented, not for me or the team but more importantly for the patients who may never have received these life changing surgeries otherwise. I believe so much in this organization and what it offers, how much it means and how much it can change someones life.
As a testament to just that, this past week a young boy around the age of 13 travelled hours and hours from their village to Guwahati with his younger brother who has a cleft palate. They came only with the village health worker, who is responsible for overseeing the whole group of patients from that trip (usually the groups are around 30 in size). No mother, no father, no grandparent or aunt or uncle. For some reason or another no adult was able to attend. Just the two brothers. Can you imagine traveling so far at such a young age, hoping to give your little brother a chance for change? The whole time he cared so lovingly for him. He rocked him in the recovery room right after surgery, fed him milk out of a syringe in the ward, and guided him around gently the whole week. The love exuding from him far exceeded what is normal for his age. What would it feel like to know you have to step up to bat in order to give your sibling a chance at a normal life? How far would you travel? What responsibility would you be willing to take on if you felt this surgical center was the only hope? Now take all of that, and think about having that opportunity only once in a year, or even less. No surgical center within a reachable distance. This could be someones only chance so here is to an amazing mission, thousands of miles and 25 new smiles.