The trip home was uneventful but long. By the time we arrived at home in our respective cities (Halifax and Guelph) and the comfort of our own beds Louis, Judy and I had probably been up for at least 40 hours. We had worked right until the last minute and in fact, I feel terrible as I did not even have time to say goodbye to some of the hospital staff I worked with all week.
I had purchased white nursing pants which I gave away to one of the auxiliaries. She will probably think of me every time she wears them. Her pants were very worn out. Despite the fact that she asked me to donate them to her before I left I was happy to do it as the pants she was wearing were totally worn out.
I came down with a nasty cold and apparently, so did Judy. I guess it is not totally unexpected and it is a temporarily inconvenience but to my relief I found out that no one else has been afflicted by this bug which is comforting. It feels cold here in Guelph (only 17 degrees or so today) in contrast to the heat and humidity we experienced in Africa.
The house seems empty here. The friendship that existed between us, canadians and the 12 Brazilians was quite special considering we had never met before our arrival in Africa. We come from such diverse backgrounds and have led such different lives. None of it mattered over there as we were all there with a common goal to help others and that was so rewarding. It seems to bring meaning to life especially when you saw how grateful people were. The smiles on the mother’s faces after their little son or daughter had a cyst removed from their face or underwent a hernia operation was worth a thousand words. Even Frederick a fellow who claimed to be 55 but was probably in the neighbourhood of 70 years old was gaining strength day after day to our surprise as we did not expect him to make it given that he was so thin and feeble.
Monique and the Brazilians apparently carried out more surgeries until today but will be taking it easy for the next few days until their return home on Sunday unless the container is shipped miraculously. We never know and will continue keeping the faith that it does. It’s delivery at the Cotonou Port has been confirmed and it is now a matter of releasing it and delivering it to the hospital.
The trip to Benin was so gratifying. A life changing event which I would recommend for everyone. I discovered things about myself I did not know but certainly found out we are given what we need to face any situation. Nothing we cannot handle comes our way. Sometimes we have to put ourselves to the test. Shake up life to discover real deeply rooted happiness.
Monique’s life is totally devoted to God and others. Inner peace with oneself is a good place to start no matter what. We have to follow our instincts and I believe we all have a path to follow. I would love to go back again. Not sure when but hopefully soon enough…. I hope Niall can join me next time!
I thank god for giving the opportunity to participate in the first mission and for the chance to meet wonderful people and spend time and reconnect with my little brother, Louis and my little sister, Monique.
The opportunity of watching Louis at work repairing a little girl’s lip was fantastic. Without prejudice, I have to say I was totally impressed. Just like a work of art. And Monique, well…. she is just wonderful and so talented. Calm and serene.
Thank you all for following us on our journey and for your incredible support.