I'm halfway done writing a post about Zoe's first Christmas, complete with lots of pictures, but I just have to interrupt myself to share this precious, African moment.
Our new cabin is right next to the aft stairway, the one the patients use when going up to Deck Seven to get some fresh air. I was heading back there today while a tall girl in a long leg cast made her way slowly down the stairs. I smiled, thinking to myself that she looked familiar, when all of a sudden I found myself wrapped in an enthusiastic hug. I turned and realized that I knew the woman whose arms were around me, and I knew her daughter, too.
Blessing was one of my patients back in Liberia in 2008. I was in the OR and watched her surgery when Dr. Gary used skin from her neck to create new lips to replace the ones destroyed by noma. Blessing and her mom, Martha, have been 'frequent flyers' since then, coming back to the ship for multiple follow-up surgeries. I had heard that they were on board but hadn't had the chance to see them yet, so I was overjoyed when we ran into each other on the stairs.
I fell easily back into my Liberian English, and we chatted for a little while before Zoe got restless and I had to go. Martha held my hand and looked me square in the eye as she delivered up the best compliment she could muster.
Sis Alice, your body is looking fine these days. You are really getting fat. Before, when I knew you in Liberia, you were slim. But you are very fat now.
It would appear that I have not been as successful as I thought in losing the baby weight, but while my body might be fat, my heart is light. I love living here.