By Dr. Swati Gadgil, Rotary Club of Dombivli East, Maharashtra, India
In December, I was asked by Rotary and Mercy Ships to lead a team of four doctors to the Republic of Congo to train doctors and staff on disease prevention methods at The Adolf Sice and Tie Tie Base hospitals.
Just a few days before the trip, two doctors on our team had to drop out for personal and unavoidable circumstances. I called my friend Sanghamitra, who is based in Albany, New York, and to my surprise and relief, found her as eager as I to pursue this mission. Thanks are due to our assistant governor, Girish Mittal, for his support in making this last minute switch possible.
We landed in Pointe Noire and got a warm and enthusiastic welcome from a smiling Mark Wright and Danny Saleh of Mercy Ships. At the hospitals, we made observation rounds and started with our classroom and practical sessions. The participants were very interactive and eager to learn hygiene and hand sterilization processes.
We learned many things as well, including their customs, administrative support network, and hospital system. I was very impressed that despite their lack of resources, they continually gave it their best. The laundry workers at Adolf Sice were particularly dedicated and persuasive, and eager to learn everything we could teach them about safety and efficacy in their laundry setup.
The language barrier did not damper our spirits. With the help of our expert translators, Nic and Melvy, we always felt comfortable. Mercy Ships provided strong support, and their reputation earned us a warm welcome and considerable respect in every part of Pointe Noire! The staff at both hospitals wanted us to come back soon to provide further training and conduct sessions exclusively for doctors.
Sanghamitra and I left with a strong desire to return and continue our mission in whatever capacity we are able. The entire experience made me proud to be a Rotarian, and I am deeply thankful to Rotary and Mercy Ships for giving us this opportunity to serve and do our small part in making the world a better place.
Learn more about Vocational Training and Medical Service Teams with Mercy Ships and download the terms and conditions.