As the Africa Mercy Sails to Douala, Cameroon the Advance Team is on the ground working extremely hard to train day workers and prepare our land based facilities for the ship’s arrival.
Are you curious where the Hospital Out Patient Extension (HOPE) Centre will be in Douala? Below are the site maps to where you can see the location of the HOPE Centre, the Dental Clinic, Eye Clinic, Biomedical, Obstetric Fistula and Ponseiti clinic (located next to the HOPE Centre).
The HOPE Centre Manager, Martha Rodriguez, who is already in country, welcoming and training her HOPE Centre facilitators and day crew commented that the building after the major renovations is ‘beautiful’.
This amazing renovation has been made possible because of YOU. The HOPE Centre in Cameroon is 100% funded by Canadian donors. You are providing patients and their families a place to rest, recover and heal from life changing surgery, this is an essential component to what we do.
Here is a sneak peek at some of the before and after photographs of the HOPE Centre, which will soon be filled with beds, supplies, patients and their family members.
The HOPE Centre will open on August 24th with first surgeries beginning on September 4th. Be sure to stay tuned in September for a special video tour of the HOPE Centre given by Canadian crew members Larry and Sandy Hewitt!
This is Mercy Ships first ever field service in Cameroon and we couldn’t be more excited to meet the Cameroonian people, learn about their culture and help bring free healthcare to those most in need. Cameroon is located in Central Africa, the countries neighbours are Nigeria and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south.
How much do you know about Cameroon? Here are 15 facts plus a little extra about everyday interactions.
Meeting and Greeting in Cameroon
1.. Top 6 Campaigns
– People like supporting people they know. Write down your top six list, or let us prompt your brainstorming! You (always give to your own campaign)
– Your sibling $ (they owe you big time for all the mean things they did to you growing up)
– Mom (ask her during the day)
– Dad (ask him after Mom goes to bed)
– Friends (the ones who think you are awesome…and you are, aren’t you?)
– Boss (she loves encouraging community in the workplace – ask her!)
This approach will get you going! Ride on!
2. Cover absolutely everything. Your friends, family, workmates, school buddies, etc. will all know without a doubt that you are involved in the RIDE because…
– They see your social media posts
– They’ve gotten an email ask from you
– You’ve got RIDE posters up in your bathroom
– Your email signature is the RIDE logo and something about caring for the poor… which you actually do!
– People will respond and you’ll have a ball doing this!
3. Good Will Hunting Campaign
– Simple, and from the quote “I scratched your back, now it’s time for you to scratch mine” school of fundraising. Remember all those friends you supported who were fundraising? The one for cancer, ALS, their school equipment, their kids dance recital tickets etc? Now it’s their turn to give to you.
– Brainstorm your list of friends
– Search your email for tax receipts and fire off personal emails to all those you supported
– Watch the money come in!
It works! – if you’ve been giving, so umm, yeah.
4. The $25 Ask Campaign
– A favourite, and works like this – brainstorm a list of prospective donors you know, and ask each of them to specifically give you $25. That’s it – you don’t care who they are or how much money they may or may not have – everyone’s asked to give $25 exactly.
– Your ask is low, clear and understood. “Well gee, they’ll say to themselves, I gotta at least have 25 bucks around here some place.” Success!
5. Rejected Campaign Ideas.
Below is a growing list of campaigns we've heard of but flatly rejected. If you see yourself doing any of these, call us quick and we'll talk you through better options!
– The Terminator – “Give or I’ll de-friend you”
– The Passive Aggressive – “Give or I’ll cry”
– The Co-Dependent – your mother fundraises for you
Thanks for all of your support, wishing you the best of success with your fundraising!
Jane, Mercy Ships Canada Donor Relations Coordinator
Pounding yams … hand-washing clothes … head-carrying water or goods to sell … feeding a baby … all common tasks for women in many parts of West Africa. For some, it’s part of living; for others, it’s a matter of surviving. For a young girl like Rose, having hands that functioned properly would ease the simple tasks of getting dressed, eating and brushing her hair.
At 10 years old, those things were already challenge. What would happen when she needed her hands to do more? Her father Dele didn’t want to find out. He left his wife, newborn twins and two other daughters to take Rose on a six-hour bus ride to Mercy Ships so she could have surgery. It was there that the damage of the past would be undone.
It had happened nine years ago when Rose was just learning to walk. Dinner was over, and the cooking fire had died down, but red-hot coals hid secretly beneath the ashes. Rose stumbled and fell hands-first onto the embers. The burns were bad, especially on one hand; one of her tiny little fingers was half-gone. Dele and his wife rushed their daughter to the local hospital where doctors treated the burns using an ointment. Not long after, though, the wounds became infected. With no money left, traditional medicine was the only remaining option. Over time, scarring took over. Because there was no access to physical therapy or other forms of care, some of the tendons and ligaments fused the fingers and palm together into a frozen position, making one of Rose’s hands mostly unusable.
But, now, that’s in the past. A free surgery coupled with almost three months of physical therapy at Mercy Ships helped restore functionality to the hand, and Dele was overjoyed. He stayed by his daughter’s side the entire time, making sure she had everything she needed.
One day, while her hand was still bandaged, he took Rose to get her hair done. “My hair? I don’t care how it looks … but my daughter’s? I need to take care of her very well and want her to have the best. Glory be to God if she can one day do her own hair with her own two hands!” he says.
Dele managed to stay patiently focused on Rose’s recovery, though he knew that his wife, four kids and job needed him there, as well. “He was eager to get home,” says Chelsea Darlow, volunteer hand therapist. “And so he was great at encouraging Rose to do her exercises. He was always interested in watching how we did the exercises so he could do them with her as well. I could really see that he worked with her between rehab sessions, and that made a difference in the progress she made.” These encouraging progress reports also made their way to the ears of a very interested “Mrs. Dele” back at home.
“She’s aware of everything!” Dele says with humor as he describes his wife’s eagerness for their return. “Even yesterday she called and asked, ‘When will you be discharged?’ I told her, ‘Be patient! I don’t know yet!'” As far as his newborn twin boys are concerned, he laughs. “From what I’ve heard, the babies are growing up! Their mom is taking very good care of them.”
Finally, it was time for Rose’s last therapy session. She sat on Chelsea’s lap, not wanting to let go of her hand. “She was very excited at the start, hugging everyone, then sad about leaving, yet still looking forward to going home,” says Chelsea, impressed with how much the young girl accomplished but torn to see her go. “Once you’ve made really strong connections with people, it can be very difficult to say goodbye,” she adds.
Finally, just a six-hour bus ride and the two would be back at home, showing family what took so long. “She can do everything now!” says Dele, a very proud father, knowing Rose is fully capable of doing whatever she needs … including her own hair.
Story by Windsor Marchesi
Edited by Nancy Predaina
Photos by Miguel Ottaviano, Timmy Baskerville, and Kat Sotolongo