14 February 2017
A while ago, much like my fellow New Zealander (occasionally known as Middle Earth) Bilbo Baggins, I found myself launched onto An Unexpected Journey!
From October 2014 – June 2015, I was a writer aboard the floating hospital Mercy Ships as they provided hope in the form of free healthcare to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access nor afford it in Madagascar.
Although lacking in dragons, Elven blades and Gandalf, my journey did include lemurs (I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have the honour of being urinated on by a lemur), listening to One Direction as we trekked through mountains in the depths of Madagascar (that’s a story), people as wise as Gandalf and as inspiring as beauty, curious cats, the best kind of multiplication #MercyShipsMaths, lessons and character growth, adventure, sadness and joy, light and darkness, depth, love and mercy*, changed lives.
Now, around two to three years later, I’ve finally found time to blog a bit about the experience.
(At least that’s fifty-eight less years than Bilbo took before writing about his journey! :P)
Note: this is an unfortunate reality: time and change casts shadows on my memories. I wrote this three months in, ‘Time is like something very fast that rushes past, except on the ship there is no friction, and so it rushes even faster … Every day on the ship is like a year. And yet the year feels like a second. It’s the strangest thing. Trying to remember everything that’s happened is hard’ … It’s now like two to three years later. So many memories of moments, people, lessons, emotions, meaningful things … gone 😦 And even if they weren’t, there is No Way I will be able to do justice to the people and their stories; the life, suffering, beauty and richness of both patients and crew members. Please know that for every little bit I share with you … there is, and these people are, so. Much. More. Also, uni is starting soon so I’m just pushing myself to get this done.
The thoughts in this blog are mine and do not necessarily represent nor reflect the views nor values of Mercy Ships.
*This isn’t actually relevant to my journey apart from the concept of mercy, but oh this quote, this quote! On so many levels! … I will include it anyway 😛
‘Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.’ – The Fellowship of the Ring, LOTR.