We spent the day yesterday adjusting to the boat, each other, and our role onboard. There are 100 people on the ship representing 11 different nationalities! We have those who are full time ship staff and those who have never been on a ship before. We have young and old, retired and students, couples and singles. There are people from all walks of life who decided that God was calling them to this ship at this time to do His work. The diversity woven together by Christ’s redeeming grace on this one boat creates this joy filled atmosphere that is pungent with God’s presence. We know that He is going to work in big ways and the anticipation of it is bubbling with excitement.
After we introduced ourselves to each other and those of us who just arrived went through the general orientation, they divided us up into the clinic groups we will be working with. There are three primary health care groups that will be the main ones working on the ground. Then there is an optometry team, an ophthalmology team, and a dentistry team who will work mainly off the ship. To my great surprise, I got placed with the dentistry team. I have absolutely no experience with dentistry. However, I got really excited as they took us down to the dentistry clinic onboard and started explaining what ‘the non-dentist people’ would be doing. In addition to three dentists, four dental assistants, and a dental therapist, there are four of us with absolutely no experience at all. One of us is a lab scientists, originally from Singapore, another is a plumber, and then the other is a DTS student with YWAM. We will have the job of organizing patients and sterilizing equipment using the ships autoclave. We will also assist in teaching about good oral hygiene and hand out toothbrushes. This is what made me so excited in particular because one of my dear professors back at Baylor donated a ton of toothbrushes for me to bring. I didn’t expect to see first hand what an impact those toothbrushes would make because I don’t do teeth, but for the next week I will do teeth. It’s so cool to see how God is using both trained and untrained to accomplish this goal of bringing healthcare to this country. Everyone has a place. Being untrained is not something that you can use as an excuse because you can be trained and do your part.
In the afternoon, after all the orientation was done, I walked to the supermarket with a few of my new friends. The supermarket is a large barn-like building with some food products and other goods, not what we think of when we hear the word supermarket by any means. It was so interesting to look around and experience it. I wanted to by a machete, but I decided that I probably wouldn’t make it through customs back in the US. Oh well. After we had finished at the supermarket we took a walk down through the tiny village nearby. There are no cars here. People live in huts which are connected by dirt paths. As we walked past everyone greeted us in english and smiled as we waved back at them. The children were especially fun to watch. A few of them were swimming in a little inlet. They bounced around on the low hanging branches and jumped in the water, laughing and screaming at one another. The sound of their laughter is one of the best sounds I’ve ever heard. Life is simple here. I kinda like it. It’s not like America where you get distracted by some sort of technology every ten seconds. Here there are no distractions, just life.
Today we are setting sail. In fact, as I am typing this up on the ship’s computer, we are pulling out of port. Each time I glance up to look out the window there is less and less land. Here we go!