Thursday 7 June 2018: Eastwood nurse Audrey Badaoui has achieved her goal of returning to Africa by spending the last four months volunteering on board the world’s largest independent hospital ship docked on the coast of Cameroon.
“I dreamed of the day when I could travel to Africa and experience it for myself after hearing stories about it.”
“A couple of years ago I volunteered as a registered nurse in Zambia in a small medical clinic and fell in love with the people and the rich culture.”
“I knew that I wanted to volunteer for a longer time and give of myself again.”
“When I heard about Mercy Ships and that they provided life-changing surgeries I knew I wanted to be part of that and use my nursing skills to help others.”
Mercy Ships is the international non-profit organisation that operates the hospital ship Africa Mercy, which Miss Badaoui joined in February.
“I heard about Mercy Ships through a work colleague who volunteered on the ship; she had such interesting, motivating stories that I knew Mercy Ships seemed like the perfect fit.”
An RN in the emergency department of Royal North Shore Hospital, Miss Badaoui’s nursing experience at home prepared her well for her time on board the hospital ship.
“One of my favourite parts about being here is the special relationships we have with our patients.”
“It is a privilege to care for the patients and be part of their journey and transformation and it’s the best feeling to see a patient filled with hope and new life when they are discharged from the ship healed and ready for new beginnings.”
The Africa Mercy arrived in the port city of Douala, Cameroon, in August 2017 with plans to provide almost 4,000 thousand life-changing surgeries on board, to treat over 8,000 at a land-based dental clinic as well as providing health care training to local medical professionals during 10 months in port.
“I did not know much about Cameroon before I arrived except that it was dangerous in parts of the country with the ongoing conflict.”
“Since being here I can appreciate that it is a beautiful country. The people here are so warm and kind, and proud to call this place home and share their stories with us.”
Miss Badaoui spent most of her time on board working on the general surgical and plastics ward, caring for patients with conditions including burn contracture injuries and life-threatening tumours.
“I have also taken care of the babies requiring cleft lip and palate repairs.”
“Some of the babies were scarily underweight when they presented to the ship because they could not feed normally and gain weight as a newborn should.”
“I found the parents’ patience, strength and love inspiring and it was pure joy to witness their successful surgeries.”
“It is hard to think about what could happen to these babies if Mercy Ships was not in Cameroon.”
Now that she has left the ship, Miss Badaoui plans to further spend time travelling before returning to her job at RNSH.
About Mercy Ships
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, with more than 2.56 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. Mercy Ships Australia, one of 16 international support offices, is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. For more information, visit www.mercyships.org.au
For further information, please contact:
National Office Manager
Mercy Ships Australia
(07) 5437 2992
High resolution photos are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships.