16 March 2018
Mercy Ships is an international organisation that operates the largest charity-run hospital ship in the world. This incredible ship is crewed by volunteers who provide free surgery and medical care to some of the poorest people in the world. Did you know that two out of three people in the world cannot get safe, affordable surgery when they need it? Something we take for granted in the UK simply isn’t an option to vast swathes of the world’s population.
Here is a story about how Mercy Ships transformed one woman’s life in Africa.
Fanta has worked in medicine for more than 17 years, but she was afraid to have surgery herself to remove a 10lb tumour under her right arm. For 10 years she hid the tumour under draped shawls while she worked.
“How can I expect people to re spect me as a nurse and not be scared themselves when I am too afraid to do anything about my own problem?” Fanta asked.
Since she was a young girl, Fanta saw nurses at her local hospital in their uniforms taking care of people, and she knew she wanted to be a nurse, too. So she worked hard to achieve her dream.
But her melon-sized tumour made it difficult to work, and it grew relentlessly. Something had to be done, but she was afraid to have an operation.
Fanta explained: “My colleagues told me I would die if I tried to have it removed or if I left it too long. I saw the surgeries, I saw the blood, and I hated the thought of not being in control of my own body.”
But when she heard about Mercy Ships, hope replaced worry. After her initial screening, Fanta felt surprisingly at ease.
“The nurses at the ship were so compassionate and loving. They kept reassuring me that everything was going to be more than okay...and something in me trusted them.”
Fanta’s three-hour surgery removed more than just her tumour. It replaced her anxiety with hope.
“I can now lift my arms with ease,” she said. “I will be able to dress like the other ladies at my hospital. My husband has already bought me some new fabric so I can make more dresses that show off my arms.”