Capacity Building



“When I was twelve, I saw a woman on TV…her husband had burned her with acid – her face had become fused to her neck, so she could never look a person in the eye. There was not one plastic surgeon to help her in Benin. That’s when I chose my profession…”

Oudray  (BEN), Benin’s first and only plastic surgeon, explains what initially inspired her career path. She’s pictured here with volunteer surgeon Dr. Tertius Venter (ZAF) onboard the Africa Mercy, using the ship’s time in Benin to hone her skills so she can better serve her country.

Our Medical Capacity Team works to help make sure we are leaving a lasting impact in the countries we serve.  They are constantly evaluating and expanding the ways they do this.  One way this team does this is through a train the trainer program, designed to teach professionals how to teach simple methods that can vastly decrease mortality rates of mothers and babies in the OR. “Doctors and nurses here know the most complex concepts, but its the simple things that aren’t being taught – the simple things that can determine whether someone dies or lives,” says neonatal volunteer AFM nurse, Lindsay McCurley.

Would you pray that God would empower the country of Benin to take care of their people?  Thank you for letting us be here!




Most of you know that before we came to Mercy Ships, we were foster parents.  We had two adorable bonus kiddos that still hold a huge part of our heart and always will.  One of our kids had autism and they had both dealt with way more trauma than anyone should.  So, we had our fair share of therapy evaluations and appointments.  Physical, Occupational, Speech, Nutritional, Pschoanalysis something, and many other things I can’t spell.  Because of the “system” we had to change therapists many times, so we have met many therapists.  Let me tell you, I love all of them.  Seeing the progress and change in our kiddo over the long haul was amazing.

As part of my job on the ship, I walk in and out of our hospital wards many times a day, up and down the halls gathering information and taking pictures.  Also in those halls are our therapists.  Physio therapists, Occupational therapists, and right next to me in the office are our dieticians who also do speech therapy.  If I had not spent some time in therapy sessions, I wouldn’t really get why they are so necessary. Acutally, many times it looks like they are just playing silly games.  But I get it.  The surgeons cut the bones and the skin and sew it back  in place.  The anesthesiologists look cute and do magic tricks keep the patients alive during surgery.  The nurses take care of them during and after surgery.  And the therapists, work one small step at a time to help the patient be able to walk, or raise their arms, or other things I know nothing about.  It’s not instant gratification, and they deal with lots of screaming and fears.  But they persistently take one small step at a time with our patients, and encourage and coach them to take that step.

The other day, I saw a patient in the hallway whom we have gotten to know over the last few months.  She is from Nigeria, so she speaks perfect English and is especially kind to Brandon.  I looked down and noticed her casts were off!  Her mom was standing behind her crying.  She just kept whispering over and over “I’m just so happy.”  She said she’s been in a wheelchair for 8 years and now she was taking her first steps without her casts.  The patient and her mom were both in tears, and as I looked at the therapist, her eyes were wet and twinkly.

I say it all the time, but this place is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.  Thank you for making it possible for us to be here.

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Djazim at his last rehab session.

Michele, our friend and a physio here on board

©2016 Mercy Ships

Our friend, Naomi, standing for the first time without her casts with her therapist, Ash.