Frank y Cathleen met years ago at work in the United States. They fell in love and were married. These days they don’t work at the same place and they find their jobs exhausting both physically and emotionally. But once a year they leave that all behind and travel thousands of miles to work together once again for a few weeks and recharge their batteries whilst they help transform the lives of very needy patients.
Cathleen explains, “We’ve been doing this for six years now but the first year we came was the hardest. We arrived with the idea that we were coming with all our knowledge and skills to save the lives of African people. Later we realized that we took away from that first experience as much, if not more, than what we contributed.”
“The whole atmosphere in the hospital onboard the Africa Mercy helped us to really connect with our patients and have much more interaction with them. Here the emotional well-being of the patient is given as much priority as the physical healing. This more humanitarian approach allows us to return to the roots of medicine which has been lost to some degree in the cold, more clinical approach of modern medicine because of time and performance pressures”.
Frank who is now the lead surgeon for the orthopedic program onboard the Africa Mercy says, “What keeps us coming back is the transformation we see in people’s lives, especially the kids we take care of. You can see them come to life and start to shine before your very eyes and starting to do things that are relatively simple for us but not available to them. It’s gratifying to us to participate in their miracles!”