Saturday, September 3, 2016

The early weeks in Bénin

Two weeks ago yesterday our plane landed in Cotonou.  We're getting settled in, and still half expecting to see Madagascar when we look out the windows of the ship, but much has happened in the last 14 days.  

Glimpse of the entrance to our new dock space:

A few snapshots of our surroundings:

What we've been up to:

- Nick went to present at the FATO conference in Lomé, Togo.  He shared about the Mercy Ships Ponseti program, and met key leaders and partners in rehabilitation and program development from throughout Africa.  The whole conference was one week long, and Nick presented on one of the days.  Here are a few photos from his time there:

Dr. Sonia also spoke at the conference, she was our key contact within the Ministry of Health in Madagascar.  Nick was glad to see her again!

- The last few weeks have involved a lot of cleaning and setting up the hospital.  I am working in the OR department this outreach, and we are working on cleaning and unpacking from the sail...lots of progress has been made since I took these pictures, but there is still plenty to do before surgeries start!

- Nick also had an opportunity to be a speaker at an awareness raising conference held today by the local clubfoot clinic. He shared briefly about Mercy Ship's visit and the plans for partnership during these 10 months. The clinic did a great job sharing information with professionals from the Cotonou area about the Ponseti clubfoot method. 

Mercy Ships was not involved with organizing this event, and it shows the clinic's interest and commitment to clubfoot treatment which is fantastic to see.  It was a great time to meet key people involved in clubfoot management in Bénin, and we are looking forward to getting to know them more over the coming months.

A photographer at the conference was nice enough to take a few pictures of both of us together :) 

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