All comments contained within this blog are my personal observations while serving on the M/V Africa Mercy. They are not the views or opinions of Mercy Ships or partner ministries.»

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Presidental visit.

It is once again late into the evening as I sit down to write you about the days happenings. I would like to ask you a favor when reading my blog. I am usually very tired when I am writing, but there are so many stories here that have to be told, I don't want to wait a day or they will be lost in the recesses of my mind forever. They are important stories the MUST be told. With this in mind, please be kind when reading my blog and forgive the mis-spelled words. Most of the time you can make out the gist of my meaning.

With that said, let me move on with today's news.

This is the second President I have had the honor to film. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf once again graced Mercy Ships and the M/V Africa Mercy with a visit. I knew a little bit of what to expect after my adventure in Tanzania in September so I was not as anxious as I was then. As with anything technical with regards to ministry something major almost always happens and this was no exception.

Earlier in the day I had spent 45-minutes doing a sound check to make sure I could get sound from the sound board to my camera. It took that long because there was a mix-up in how the cables were plugged into the board, but it was all sorted out.

I taped the mic cable down so no one would trip over it, placed my tripod in its place and went about the rest of my day. The President was set to arrive at 2pm.

When the big moment arrived, I was on the gangway and just like in Tanzania another press person joined me. Now the thing with gangways is the they are moving all the time. Today was particularly bad because there was a steady wind which made the ship sway from side to side. Add a person on the gangway and the movement intensifies.

With the other photographer adding extra movement to my camera, I went down to the dock and recorded the President greeting Don and Dayon Stephens, the founders of Mercy Ships and they all proceeded up to the reception area on the ship where a few chosen crew members of African descent waited to greet the President.

We all proceeded up to the "International Lounge" where the President would speak. This is where the heart-stopping moment occurred. When I plugged in my line from the sound board...NOTHING.

Thank goodness the President was not speaking first. Christian, the sound guy on duty, ran to get assistance and when the other gentleman came up it took him about 10 minutes to sort out the problem.

Well,,, as you can all well imagine, I was not a happy camper. The International Office wanted all of the Presidential speech and I thought I was going to have to rely on my on camera microphone.

But, as God's grace happened upon all of us that day, the problem was resolved and I was able to record all of Don's speech as well as the Presidents.

I am at the top of the gangway. Click on the photo to open it full size.

Filming the President's arrival.

The communications team.
It is nice to be on an all female team since I am the only female
on the team I work with back home.
Me, Esther and Debra.

She left the ship and all returned to normal.

Returning to yesterdays sad entry, I have some happy news to report. If you recall Mark, he is the doctor I met on the last leg of my journey here. I spoke to him today and I asked him if he happened to have seen Abraham. After telling me he had seen a lot of Abrahams, I mentioned the blue star on his nose. That joggled his memory and he did remember examining him.

When I told him that I had heard he had not been accepted, he had a perplexed look on his face and corrected me by informing me that there was no plastic surgeon there to do a proper examination and that more than likely Abraham will return for a follow-up appointment when the proper surgeon arrives. This would be within a month or so.

Suddenly the sorrow that had clouded my day had blown away and I had hope for this little boy. I must warn you now, if you are reading my blog with a child present, I do have a photo of Abraham posted for you to see the darling little boy. His physical appearance is not pretty. It is hard to look at. So, please do not scroll down if you do not want you child to see his photo.

Later in the afternoon, Stephanie approached me. She was the nurse who drew a lot of the patients blood. (I hope I remembered your name correct. If not, find me and correct me. --She reads my blog.) She told me that she remembered drawing his blood and reiterated what Mark had told me. Once again, my joy soared!!

I have found out that Abraham was burned when hot oil spilled on him. He spent several months in a hospital through another charitable organization. They tried to repair his eyes, but as you probably know, burn patients can require 30+ surgeries just to resume normal function of their damaged tissue.

I am including some other photos of some of the people who were at the screening. I believe all of them I am showing here made it through the screening process and they will receive treatment on the M/V Africa Mercy. Please keep them in your prayers. They still have a long journey ahead of them.

Here are the photos. AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, PREVIEW THE PHOTOS FIRST!!! I'll start with some photos of me working. Okay, this first one is of me goofing off while Chad is trying to work. He put all the before photos in a template so that when the patients come for their surgery, the doctors will see the photos.

In the following images I am filming Don Stephens for updates to shown to sponsors.

Don speaks with patients in line.
I believe this little girls name is Nancy. She had a tumor growing on the side of her face. If it is not cancer and the doctors are able to remove it, she will be spared a future consisting of living with a deformed face and being an outcast to society.

I would like to thank Megan Petock for these wonderful photos. She is an amazing woman who has been helping out in the communications department by offering her photography and writing skills as well as being one of the wonderful nurses who will care for the patients. Thanks Megan!!! You are a star!!!

And now for the photo of beautiful Abraham. If you look closely you will see the little blue star Ali, one of the nurses here, helped placed on his nose. You can read more about her interactions with Abraham on her blog at:

Wednesday is our first admissions day. I will once again be in the heat of battle, literally it's stinkin' hot here!! I will be filming the patients as they go through the process to begin collecting footage to tell their stories.

On Thursday there is a strong possibility I will be filming my first surgery. I do not think I will have any problems, but you never know. Please keep that in your prayers a well. I do not want to be drug out of the O.R. after collapsing in a heap.

One last photo for you to look at. Look into his eyes. What do they say to you?

Thanks for reading my mini novel. Please write me and let me know what you would like to know about my time here in wonderful Liberia. I look forward to sharing with you.



Anonymous said...

Amazing photos!
God Bless you and stay cool
Joyce Page