There was no shortage of tears as the Africa Mercy set sail from Madagascar. During the two consecutive visits, crew members like Meggan Major have also made sure there was no shortage of blood. Meggan was just one of the many volunteer crewmembers who donated 171 units of blood for Malagasy patients.
The bond that often develops between patients and crew members is very special and is often felt long after the ship’s departure. Meggan and Lalao became instant friends as Lalao recovered from her goiter surgery and for Meggan to know that her own blood donation to help with Lalao’s recover made it even more special. With over 1200 volunteers a year and thousands of surgical patients treated the relationships that develop, particularly with patients who spend a long time recovering from major surgery, means the ‘Goodbyes’ are often very intense.
As the ship has left the shores of Madagascar and headed on to West Africa not only memories are left behind, but also newly renovated medical facilities and local healthcare specialists, who have been trained and mentored, and will continue to provide quality medical care for years to come.