I'm in my cabin eating lunch, and I should really be heading back to the wards, but I need to tell you what happened this morning.
I was putting away some supplies when the eye team nurse came in to remove the patches from Oriace's eyes. He twisted and wiggled and cried, doing everything in his power to let us know that he really wasn't a fan of the tape coming off his skin. When the gauze was peeled away, he screwed his eyes shut against the light, absolutely refusing to open them. His mama looked up, worried, and we smiled back down at her, explaining that we would wait. That eventually, Oriace would be curious enough that he would brave the day. It happened after a couple of minutes.
First the left and then the right, his little eyes ventured open. His brow furrowed and his head wobbled and his arms flailed and we couldn't tell if he was seeing. Mama's eyes implored; can he see you? Oriace answered us in typical baby fashion when his wildly waving arm came a little too close to his face. Immediately, he went totally still, his tiny body tense. He moved his hand to the side, following it with his eyes, and his mama started to laugh. He did it again, and so did I.
Little Oriace spent the next ten minutes absolutely enthralled by the sight of his own hand. He followed it with his new eyes as he waved it back and forth, back and forth across his face. Finally, apparently satisfied, he popped both thumbs into his mouth at the same time, his curled fingers making the shape of a heart in front of his nose.
Seeing a child see for the first time? That, my friends, never gets old.
I'm Ali; thirty years old, and married to Phil, an electrician, also known as The Husband of Joy (HoJ for short). We're parents to Zoe (who is quite possibly the cutest baby ever), and we live on board the world's largest non-governmental hospital ship, the M/V Africa Mercy, where we work with Mercy Ships to bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor in West and Central Africa. The whole crew, from cook to captain, is made up of volunteers from more than thirty countries who are dedicated to bringing the love of Jesus to the world. So many people say they love their jobs enough to do them for free; we're a ship full of people who actually get to live that way. (I moderate all comments, so don't worry if yours doesn't show up right away. If it won't let you post, please e-mail me at alirae[at]quist[dot]ca. I love hearing from you!)