My stomach is quite acidic from the two large cups of coffee I drank after dinner. Happily I can write "drank" rather than "downed" seeing that Mercy Ships is a recipient of donations from Starbucks. It is the only coffee brewed on the ship. What a pleasant surprise.
As for the food, I can give the diplomatic answer that my mother has set such a high standard during my first 23 years of life that I could never expect it to be met. With that being said, the food is quite palatable but I will most likely lose a few pounds this year.
While everyone is very friendly I do feel a bit like a first grader at a new school. It's not my favorite feeling and something I haven't felt in awhile. But I am pretty certain that the acute awareness of my newness will fade over the next few weeks.
Surgeries are scheduled to start next week. Our first few weeks will be only VVF patients. If I wasn't so tired I would give an exhaustive lesson on VVF, but that will have to come later. In a nutshell, VVF is a condition in which a fistula is formed during a traumatic labor, leaving the woman incontinent of urine and feces. Often the babby dies and the woman is left by her husband. Some women with this condition are as young as fourteen. I was still playing with dolls when I was fourteen. Although, I probably should not have not admitted to that. Perhaps that's why I am a pediatric nurse. It will be such a privilege to work with these women.
Today I found out that Mercy Ships always tries to give the pediatric patients to pediatric nurses. If I was speaking you would hear the intonation of my excitement. While I am willing to be flexible my preference will always be to work with children.
Flexible is a word that will be given new meaning this year. At times I am sure it is a word I may despise. But I cannot help but think anything a small sacrifice in light what has already been given on my account. Already I have met people from Canada, Holland, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia, England, Australia and Taiwan. This is the first time in my life where I have had to identify myself as an American rather than a Philadelphian. It is amazing to see that while the dialects, accents, and cultures of the crew are incredibly different, we are truly united. Our belief in the same Bible and the same God bypasses the vast differences. And it is possible to share a deep connection with a new acquaintance form the other side of the world. "Kindred spirits are not so hard to find as I once thought."