Monday I got to be security for a dental screening, which means I wore a fluorescent yellow vest and walked up and down a three lines of people with a former NY cop and said, "Restez en ligne, s'il vous plaît (Please stay in line)." To explain: we had our big screening to fill our surgery schedule at the beginning of Sept, but there are continual dental and eye screenings-sometimes for surgeries (like cataracts) but sometimes just for cleanings or eye drops. People know that every Monday and Thursday, they can line up outside the dental clinic to see if they can get their teeth checked. It's hard, because we're limited on time, so the dentists select the most urgent or emergent cases first and then take less urgent cases if possible. But whoever comes and doesn't get selected that day, they can come back the next screening day. In theory, as more of the emergent cases are addressed, as the field service continues, the other cases will be able to be seen. Unfortunately, it is really frustrating for people to come, wait in line, and then find out that they weren't selected. It reflects a constant tension in what Mercy Ships does in how we're limited by resources (including time) but there is always great need. I mentioned it before in reference to the initial screening day, but the issue seems to come up alot. The only way I've been able to deal with knowing we can't help everyone is to spend time on the wards and see the faces of those we can help. It's not a solution to the issue, by any means, but it's a reminder that we are doing good work here in Guinea.
Come Tuesday, it was a little weird to be back at work. More of the same, unpacking newly arrived drugs and the like. This week, I say goodbye to two new friends-Cathy of Kindia, the island, and other adventures fame, and Sue, our pharmacy partner in crime.
Sue was such a blessing these past two weeks. She allowed for us to take days off to explore and experience mercy ministries and other adventures we wouldn't have been able to do on a regular work schedule. And she brought life and laughter to our department with a cheerful attitude and willingness to pitch in wherever. We'll definitely miss her.
And Cathy...it's weird to say goodbye to someone who's been a part of your main circle of friends since the beginning. If I ever come as a long term crew member, the transient nature of friends on the ship will be a hard adjustment. We're already making plans to visit each other when we all go home, but it will be different not having Cathy here as a part of our fierce four.