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Monday, October 28, 2013

Decorating the Rehab Tent

As you cast your eye over our dock outside our ship you may notice some big tents.  
 No, we haven't got too many crew who need to be housed outside.  This is where we receive a lot of the patients and one of the tents houses the Rehabilitation Team.  Each year the Academy help make it a little more cheerful for those who spend hours exercising their limbs as they recover from surgery.  This year the different school grades contributed with different art work and they've even made space so patients can draw around their hands and add to the art work.  So tonight we hung it all up.  I would love to be in the tent tomorrow and see everybody's face when they arrive and see the colourful decorations.
(thank you Shelly for the photos and organising this)
So what do the rehab team do?
One of their main programs is the Ponseti Clubfoot Program where they use casts to manipulate the foot back to the correct position.
Others may have had surgery and so come here for exercises to help recover from surgery.
Here are some before and afters:
 And our main "Ortho" crew Nick and Dr. Frank, along with many other volunteers and day crew, work so hard so lives can be changed.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Our Little Music Boy

Nathanael is starting to follow his musical roots.  Last year he started learning the Djimbe to see if he could cope with learning an instrument and all the commitment of practicing etc that goes with it.  Since he was a baby he has always been fascinated with the drums and was always watching them in the services.  He would set out his toy drums, along with any other pots and tubs that he could find to make his pretend drum kit.
Today he started his first drum lesson with the very same man that he spent hours watching many years ago. 
On another "note" he has also started learning the recorder at school.  The academy has a great music teacher who not only teaches music in the school but also a variety of instruments.  Nathanael joined the beginner recorder group at the beginning of the school year and already we are hearing the start of the Christmas song, Jingle Bells, being squeaked as he practices each lunch time.  So if you want to start getting into the Christmas spirit click on the video below.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Experiences

It's amazing the random things that come up that we can get involved in, in Africa.  These last 2 weekends there have been 2 new experiences that Nathanael has been able to enjoy.  Sharon had some prior engagements on both days so it became a Daddy and son day out.  Each time we thought that he'd probably sit it out being the cautious child that he is, but he has surprised us.
A week ago a local horse stables had an open day for children so they can see life around horses in Pointe Noire.  It was also a fundraiser but they generously offered us free tickets so that our kids from the ship could come and have go.
Nathanael had initially expressed some reservation about getting on a horse but we suggested that he should just try it out as it's not something that comes along often.  Well needless to say he loved it because by the time it was time to go he had been on a horse not 1, but 4 TIMES and by the end of it he had learnt to get on and off a horse.  Unfortunately the stable charges $60 a lesson so we're glad that he got a chance to do it free of charge.
This weekend a local sailing club also had a free open day and they offered a few Hobie Cat sail boats and kayaks so the kids could experience some sailing on a "smaller" scale.  Tim was able to share a little of his passion for sailing and take Nathanael out in a boat and have a sail around which he/they really enjoyed.

Thank you to all who made these open days possible so our kids can experience things they don't normally do, we really appreciate it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Our First Patient

Ebenezer was one of our first patients before we even knew it.

Ebenezer is from Nigeria and was unable to afford medical care in his home country.  He searched the internet for a way to get help to remove his tumour and found Mercy Ships on line.  He read about the ship being in Conakry, Guinea and decided to go and seek us out, hoping that somebody could help.  Unfortunately he got to Guinea too late, we had already left, but that didn't deter him, he heard that we were going to The Republic of Congo so he started to make his way to Brazzaville.  By the time he got to Brazzaville he had no money, he couldn't speak French or any of the tribal languages of Congo, but God intervened!  A fellow Nigerian passenger on his flight offered to pay for his lodging and onward airfare to Pointe Noire.  On arrival some Mercy Ships crew "happened" to be at the airport collecting incoming crew when they found Ebenezer.  They took him to our hope centre for somewhere to stay until the ship arrived.
Ebenezer became our first patient and was welcomed on board by our President and Founder, Don Stephens.  They prayed together in the ward before he received his surgery and now he is on his way to healing and a new outlook on life.
He is now staying at our Hope Centre ashore which houses 150 patients and caregivers.  His bandages are removed and he will continue to recover until his next stage of surgery to graft bone from his hip around his new titanium jaw.  Continue to pray for his ongoing healing.