Friday, March 28, 2008

Project HOPE Volunteers Complete Last Day at JFK Hospital

Today was our last day of work at JFK Hospital. This part of the mission was much harder than the Ghana part. The people here are so warn out, the resources are lacking and the medical education is too, but they have improved so much in such little time that there is really a lot of hope here that JFK will once again be the referral hospital of West Africa.

I sat in on a meeting today in which Joy discussed leadership with the head nurses and doctors. It was interesting to hear the concerns they have are also ones nurses and medical staff encounter in hospitals in the United States. There needs to be some sort of accountability for those nurses who don't come into work on time or at all. When the meeting was over Joy and Dr. McDonald talked a while and Dr. McDonald said that in 2006 the hospital was run by nurse's aides and now it has plenty of nurses, that in and of itself is a great improvement and in such short time.

Project HOPE is exploring the the possibility of opening a permanent office in Liberia soon. It was announced by Ambassador Booth on Wednesday. I think it is HOPE's wish to keep moving this hospital forward in order to give the people of Liberia a good medical facility and the medical students a good education. Many of our volunteers have expressed their willingness to come back to Liberia for a much longer time. We all see the need is very great here. Just walking on the campus with the empty buildings and the ones that do work not fully equipped, you see that people are needlessly dying because the resources aren't there.

We as a team have bonded over the past month. When Julia and Valdez showed up they bonded with us too. Bringing those two on was a wonderful decision. I believe most of us had never been to Africa and none of us to West Africa and so we leave with a new outlook on medicine, and on what we see in the news about Africa and a new perspective of what we have in the United States. We are very fortunate to have the things we have and when you come to places that are war torn like Liberia you realize you really shouldn't sweat the small stuff. I know this easier said than done.

This has been an exciting and tiring trip and I hope to return to Liberia one day soon and find it even more improved. We hope we left a good foot print here and that it is built upon.
On a personal note I want to thank Project HOPE for letting me part of this mission and I want to thank the volunteers and also all the great military folks we worked with for letting me invade their space with my camera and also write about them in this blog. They are all truly such wonderful people with such patience and giving hearts.

I leave this blog to my colleague and friend, Melanie Mullinax to continue as she heads to Nigeria with a new set of volunteers and adventures. As we—Project HOPE—continue to go out on these missions we will continue to update this blog from whatever point on earth we visit as long as the internet permits.
--Marisol Euceda

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