Emily Fitzpatrick has just returned from a trip she long dreamt of and won't soon forget. The 24-year-old nursing graduate spent time working onboard the world’s largest charity hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, in Tamatave, Madagascar.
Fitzpatrick not only offered her own time but paid her own way to be part of 450 international volunteers involved with Mercy Ships -- a program that provides life-changing surgeries for people in the poorest of nations. Aboard the Africa Mercy, she was an Adult Ward nurse.
Fitzpatrick first became interested in program during her 3rd year, when a representative from Mercy Ships came to Trent as a guest speaker.
Mercy Ships "specializes in treating diseases and illnesses due to poverty and war such as massive facial tumours, cleft lips and bowed legs. It also aims to help develop sustainable healthcare in Africa by helping to train African surgeons and medical professionals."
The ships operate like a small community, requiring an array of various individuals with different skills to be operational. The main purpose of the ship is to help those in need, with volunteers working together towards a common goal of providing both hope and medical assistance.
Over the course of their stay in Madagascar, the Mercy Ships plan to provide over 2000 surgeries for children and adults, provide dentistry to another 10,000, and to offer supplementary training and education to Malagasy health care professionals.