Monday, July 27, 2009


One of the great things about working in communications is that I get to see many different Mercy Ships programs (as well as free access to the ward, where I am able to get my baby-holding fix :)

Currently, Mercy Ships has several land-based programs which focus on improving the health care infrastructure of Benin. One of these programs is the Administrative Training Program. It's a three months course in which employees from local hospitals are paired with mentor/trainers from Mercy Ships. They learn about leadership, conflict resolution, and several basic computer programs. Simple things most of us take for granted.

On Friday, a graduation ceremony was held for four graduates who had completed the program. I was the photographer.

The graduation was held in the Queens lounge, the on-ship 'fancy' room used for such occasions. I sat at a table in the back, next to and his wife.

After the formality speeches were completed, Brenda, who runs the program, said a few words about each graduate. When she came to Euloge, she mentioned how much his confidence had improved during the three months. As she spoke, I watched Euloge try to hold the tears forming in the corners of his eyes backs. Eventually he cracked, and the tears rolled done his cheeks.

I didn't expect to get emotional at the graduation, but I almost joined him.

'Confidence' had cued his tears. I wonder what his insecurities and frustrations had been. I wonder how long he had judged himself by his inadequacies. I wonder how many things he didn't try because he was afraid of failing. I wonder how many wrong things he thought about himself.

I knew what he was feeling. I've felt it too.

But the beautiful part is the tears. The gentle breaking of the chain of self-doubt. His eyes attested to the fact that he'd gained much more than clerical skills over the past three months.

We all have insecurities. I think we need to remember that. Perhaps we'd be more likely to come along side of one another. To be that friend that sticks closer than a brother. We all need them.

Mercy Ships had been that friend to Euloge. And it really meant something to him.


Anonymous said...

Great writing from great insight! Thanks Meg!


Director, Resource Development at IOC

megan petock said...