It seems almost too good to be true as it has been a quiet ambition of mine for a few years but the timing and circumstances had to be right. I have wanted to give of my time and talents to a population that required health care of the sort that isn’t common here. I always thought that a MASH setting would be an incredible learning experience and a chance to give to others but I never had any ambition to join the army for obvious reasons. I heard of the Mercy Ships several years ago but spending three weeks away was longer than I wanted to commit when holiday time is still at a premium. So when I read about Team Broken Earth I was very intrigued that this would tick all of the boxes for such an expedition. It’s one week, the trip doesn’t take that long to get there and it is orthopaedic based so it seems like a perfect fit.
Two years ago at Christmas I had insomnia and spent a little bit of time reading the Calgary Herald. There was a story that went straight to my heart on many levels. It was written by a journalist who had just returned from Haiti and her description of the trip and the conditions was overwhelming but her personal story pulled at the heart strings. Her husband, Spencer McLean, had been an orthopaedic resident and had died a year or so after his trip there and just after his final exam. She had followed his footsteps and it was, as I said, a story that pulled you in and left you with tears on your cheeks.
I looked up Team Broken Earth on line and started to follow their blog as well as their Facebook page. I watched as teams from Ottawa, Calgary and Newfoundland went to and from. I thought about it occasionally. I sent away an email application to be a volunteer with a group and never heard anything back for a few months. So I reached out again and send an email via a different route and this time received a reply. It seems that they prefer teams to go down versus an individual to join a group and wondered if I would be interested in forming a team. I debated over this a while and in the meantime have been on their cancellation list in case a nurse on a team had to back out. I was a bit hesitant to form a team without the framework of experience.
Late last week a local orthopaedic surgeon reached out and commenced asking specific orthopaedic nurses to join his team and I am happy to report that I was on that list. I have offered my assistance in logistics and fund raising. The details at this time are still a bit sketchy but it would appear that the mission will happen early next winter. A warm weather trip of a different sort. A chance to give my time and talents. I am crossing my fingers that the twist of fate that dropped this into my lap at this time will continue to align so that this becomes a reality.