Update #3 GLM (English version)

 

Dear all,

How to start a blog post when it’s months overdue?
In Dutch we have a saying “beter laat dan nooit” (better late than never), so in that light, I finally found some time to write a much needed update. Which a few months later is still not finished.
I could come up with a list of excuses, but that only takes time and doesn’t give a real update.

My last post was written in February, from the AFM in Senegal. Where I was to help with the set-up of the hospital after it hasn’t been in use for almost 2 years.
The set-up was a busy time, with lots and lots of cleaning. We managed to get everything ready in the 3 weeks that we’d scheduled for this.
I’ve been part of the first surgeries and tried to do as much of a handover as possible.

The beginning of March I left the AFM, with the plan to return to the GLM and stay there to continue with the equipping of the hospital.
Together with friend and co-worker Franziska, we flew from Dakar to Brussels, took the train to Rotterdam and a taxi to the ship. Who was docked in Rotterdam.
Such a different world. Leaving the AFM in Dakar, Senegal, on Thursday, where we finally were able to help by performing surgeries. Desperate patients, who have been waiting for more than 2 years to receive surgery, a poor country, so much need. Arriving in Rotterdam on Friday, where there are some festivities going on. Tours of the ship, for thousands of people who are interested in our work. Who are getting a change to set foot onboard and experience a little bit of what we’ve been doing in the past years and hope continue to do in the coming years.Such a different environment, different excitement. Different temperature as well. Hard to believe that those two worlds are so different and the change from one to the other was quite shocking.

Our flight was overnight, and we hardly slept, to stay awake all day we went for a walk in the park after lunch. The ship was docked opposite of the park.
Walking in your own country, even though not an area I’m familiar with, and running into so many different people that you know from all over the world. Who would expect to find friends from Norway, Sweden, Germany, the UK and Switserland walking around in Rotterdam?
The 10 days I spend in Rotterdam were mostly filled with meeting people, giving tours around the ship and talk about all we do and what’s coming in the next months.
We had a day off and spend some time away from the ship and walk around in Kinderdijk.
Being a tourist in my own country surrounded by friends from all over the world is definitely a new experience.

But one of the best moments was showing family around my home.
With the long drive, not wanting to be late, they showed up more than an hour early.
So we got to start with coffee in the dining room, where they got to meet some of my co-workers and friends.
We did one of the organized experience tours. Where they got to see parts of the hospital.
After the tour, some more coffee and the personal tour of the ship, where I got to show them the spaces where the crew hangs out, such as our dining room, crew galley, crew laundry, library etc.
And of course more of the hospital, the spaces that the tour doesn’t get to, but I as hospital crew do have access to.

It was a great time in Rotterdam, but very tiring.
When the event was finished and everything packed and ready for sail, we left for Tenerife.
It wasn’t the smoothest sail I’ve done so far.
I spend a lot of time asleep, trying to catch up and rest from my busy time in Senegal and the excitement in Rotterdam.
We had a couple activities during the sail. We did a 5K walk on deck 10, sockgolf all over the ship, worship outside on deck 11. Enjoying the sun (and wind).

And so I arrived in Tenerife again. And no, it’s not a holiday, not the touristy area, but an industrial port and we’re supposed to work.
Our time was quickly filled with all kinds of projects.
Checking out the OR tables that had arrived in Antwerp. How do they work? What about all the different attachments? How do they work, do they do the job we need them to do. Are there items missing, and if so what do we need extra.
How are we going to store our implants (mostly plates and screws)? What do we need for that.
What are the supplies that we need. Here is the list with about 10.000 items that we have in our system, please tell us what you need and how much.
And so on. I’ve spend a lot of time behind a computer, to sort out all these things.

And after almost 8 weeks, I got on a plane, back to Senegal, as my help was needed there in the OR.
The GLM was going to Senegal as well, for some special celebrations and MCB (medical capacity building) work.
I left ahead of the ship, to be able to work in the OR for an extra week.
It was good to be back in the OR. Dealing with patients, doing the job I’m used to do and where I know what to do.
At the same time it was very busy, still keeping up with emails and work for the GLM.
The plan was to work in the OR for 6 weeks, but unfortunately I got Covid after 5 weeks, so I spend my last week in Senegal in isolation on the GLM.
When we sailed out the beginning of July I was still isolated. Another strange departure of Senegal.

After arrival back in Tenerife I got some PTO and spend 4 weeks in the Netherland. A short time to catch up with family and friends.
I made it back to the GLM, in Tenerife, beginning of August. The last months have been busy with finishing our equipping work. And hopefully we’ll be ready to go to Senegal for Field Service in February.

There’s still a lot of work to do, supplies to sort and procedures to work on.
A lot of the instruments and equipment that got ordered around December 2021 have arrived in the last weeks/ months, but there are still some missing. A lot of pieces to keep track of.
At the moment the hospital looks like a work zone and it’s hard to imagine a hospital with patients.
But it does look better each week.
It is really hard to explain what I’ve been doing during the equipping of the Global Mercy.
So check out this video (https://vimeo.com/779106506/c1ab1b53a7).

The beginning of December we welcomed our sister ship the Africa Mercy into Tenerife. What a joy to see them sail in. Meet “old” friends again. Catching up, saying goodbye. Welcome them into “our” ship, a new home to many of them, as they will move over to join our ship for it’s first field service in Senegal early next year.
The Africa Mercy will set sail to South Africa for an extended maintenance period.
There is life outside of work. Got to see some parts of the island of Tenerife.
Go for hikes, different cities. I’ve done some see kayaking. Hiked down mount Teide. Enjoyed a day in the waterpark.

And this month is filled with Christmas activities.

While it was early Tuesday morning I started to finish this update, doing laundry while writing this update, by now it's the end of the day, I’m ready to go on PTO., within 12 hours. Time to spend time with family and friends. Hoping that the temperature won’t go down to far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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