Many of our crew members prayed with patients – both those outside the main gate who are told by the pre-screeners that we are not able to help them and those inside who the surgeon tells them that we are not able to help them physically. They also prayed with those patients who received appointment cards to come for surgery. In this photo are two friends Yvonne and Debbie.
I met Abraham and his mother at the main gate after the pre-screener gave them a card to enter. He was crying and so I asked if I could just pick him up and carry him and she said that was OK. I held him in my arms until his shaking and crying stopped. He has severe burns and so the plastic surgeon will see what they will be able to do. He has an appointment card and so I am sure I will see him soon in the hospital ward.
At our screening, I served as an escort to take patients from the pre-screeners outside the gates inside to the main building where they will visit 8 different stations. I would welcome them and walk with them and explain what was next.
Screening – Surgical Consultation – 18 February 08 at Samuel K Doe Sports Complex. Up to 1,500 potential patients came to be seen related to three areas – maxiofacial, orthoapedic and plastics (related to burns). Part of my work with the Advance Team involved getting the word out via newspaper, radio and posters.
As part of the luncheon hosted for President George W Bush, they had traditional Liberian singers and dancers. In this photo that our executive director captured is President Bush ‘trying’ to dance Liberian style with the main singer. I can’t say too much as I can’t dance and it is difficult for me to clap hands on the beat (here they clap in sets of 3).
As the last stop on a 5 nation tour of Africa, President George W Bush of the United States came to Liberia. The last sitting US president was Jimmy Carter in ’78. George W, Laura and Dr. Rice were hosted by HE President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Our founders, Don and Deyon Stephens and our Executive Director received invitations to the luncheon and took some photos. The day prior a group of us were asked to assist the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deliver the invitations, but that was as close as I could get to the event.
We did celebrate a bit the Valentine’s Day this year. A group of the guys sung a couple songs to the ladies during lunch (though you primarily see children sitting in front of us in the photo – there were women there also). At dinner time, the ladies sang a couple songs for us.
Since we are so involved with the local health care community and since the Ministry of Health is one of our main partner, we host a Health Care Reception on board the ship. During my role with the Advance Team, we solicited names and then wrote and distributed invitations to many to join us for a reception. I found it encouraging to see so many take the time out and come and join us. Our health care staff were able to share with them more ways we can partner together and communicated a clearer picture of what we can and can not do on board.
Brenda and I served for 30 days on the Advance Team for the fourth visit of a Mercy Ship to Liberia. This happened on the great morning of February 5th. In following the tradition of the last advance team, we had matching African clothes made to celebrate the arrival.