Saturday, November 10, 2007

off ship

On my weekends off I waver between two extremes: I am either in desperate need to get off the ship for long amounts of time or I want to do nothing at all and simply spend my day wearing knee length shorts, sipping coffee, and pondering life.

After working 10 out of the past 11 days, I was ready to get off the ship.

It's amazing how much stuff you can acquire living on a hospital ship in a third world country. I would not thought it possible, but I am already fairly certain that, come next June, it will be difficult to pack up my life in two 50 kg bags. I decided that it would make the most sense to buy all my souvenirs for friends and family now and take them back to America over my Christmas break, when I actually have room in my bags, rather than try and take everything next June. Which meant I needed to take a trip to the craft market.

Yesterday afternoon I woke up in time for a walking craft market adventure with Dr. Russ. We walked the several mile's into town, meandered through the market, and walked back with our goods. It was a successful trip. Not only did I find the items I needed at reasonable prices, but I also go to stop and have a coke at the Palm Hotel with Dr. Russ.

In 2 1/2 weeks Dr. Russ will be leaving Liberia to return to America. He will be the first member of team turn around to depart.

Dr. Russ has been a great friend/distributor of wisdom/relationship counsellor/life coach/kindred spirit. Before coming to Liberia I never would have thought I'd be friends with a 65 year old retired eye surgeon. But life has so many nice surprises. It will be sad to see Dr. Russ go.

During our conversation the subject of the caliber of the people on the ship was embraced. I have met so many amazing people from all walks of life and all parts of the world. It's really amazing. Of course, we are all a little crazy or we would not be living, eating, breathing, working, and playing on a hospital ship in one of the world's poorest countries.

But crazy is the normal here. Of course, normal is a word that is always being redefined in my head the longer I stay here. I mean really, what is "normal"? Perhaps normal is just one person's concept of reality imposed upon an other's without their consent or awareness. Maybe.

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