Part of Mercy Ships ongoing patient care is providing a place to stay for discharged patients and their caregivers who live too far to come back for outpatient care. Mercy has renovated and refurbished a wing of a local hospital to make it livable for the patients and has staffed it with crew and day workers. This is Hope Center.
I went for my first visit on Saturday, its a twenty minute walk from the ship in 80 something degrees plus humidity, a sweaty walk well worth it! Two of my roommates took me and as soon as we rounded the corner a boy ran up to Erin and gave her a hug, huge smile on his face. It became a rush of people shaking hands, big smiles and lots of “Thank you!”. Later my roommate told me they say thank you because they are so grateful for the surgery, for the care and that you came to visit. It doesn’t matter if they’ve met you or not, you are apart of Africa Mercy and they are thankful.
This seven month old had arrived when he was two months to have a cyst removed from the top of his head. He is now a happy, smiley, curious little baby. His mom and him left their home and family (husband and five other children) to come to Mercy for care. She was so proud to talk of her baby and she wanted many pictures of him with me and my roommate.
These two women have had extensive reconstructive surgery and tumor removals. They don’t speak any English and I don’t speak any French so we just sat and smiled at each other, a few hand gestures to mean, “take picture” and them showing pictures of their family. A lot of misunderstandings but a lot of smiles. I love the look of pride in Mamadama’s face on the right, she basically has a whole new face and you can see her joy!