Published: May 11th 2012May 11th 2012
This morning I worked at the Africa Mercy Ship Eye Clinic. There was a dancing and singing celebration. Previously, about 25 men and women received cataract surgery. On this post-op visit, they had their vision tested and were given reading glasses, if needed. They received three kinds of eye drops and other exams. The patients all carried a blue Mercy bag pouch with eye supplies in them.
The clinic was held in a large tube like tent on the dock. My main jobs was to escort patients as they came out of the other end of the tent back to the waiting area where they sat on benches under a canvas covering. They were given cookies and water. Two interpreters then gave them instructions.
They were told to always wear sun glasses outside. They were told about what symptoms they may experience that was a normal part of recovery. They were told to boil water and let it cool before washing their eyes if they experienced draining and itching, etc. These symptoms are not unusual. The instructions and Q&A took about 30 minutes because translation into different languages was needed. One translator said she spoke seven languages. Her English was good.
After all this, the drummers started beating. The singing and dancing lasted for about an hour. Some of the people were quite elderly, but they join the circle and moved to the music. A few people also told their story. The staff joined in too. One of the dances looked like an exaggerated chicken dance. There are also similar celebrations in the wards.
While I was doing my escorting, there were about five workers cleaning up oil spills. It was not a large area. It probably came from the land rovers. First they soaked it up with absorbent pads. This was followed by a washing with soap.
Yesterday was a clear sunny day. I went up to the top deck for some fresh air. There was a breeze and I sat in shade The windows that are here were put in after it was purchased by Mercy Ships. They are mostly on decks five and six.under a canvas covering. Today started out sunny, but now it is very overcast. It looks like rain. I like the opportunity to go outside. The cabin has no windows and feels like a cave. The windows that are here were put in after it was purchased by Mercy Ships. They are mostly on decks five and six. Because we are in port, (ports are not safe places in general) I can’t just go out for a walk even though I can see a beach from the ship.
The ship has a continuous rocking motion. It was originally a cargo ship. The bottom is not built like a cruise ship. The moving doesn’t bother me. That may change when we sail. I don’t really notice it unless I look out the window or at a water glass.