A new beginning…

Finding my feet in living for Jesus.

Archive for October, 2010

All creatures great and small…

Posted by lauraoli on October 4, 2010

So, although I didn’t meet Alex the lion, Marty the zebra or Melman the giraffe in Madagascar, I did become acquainted with many of the creepy crawlies resident in and around the guesthouse that was my home during my time in Mandritsara. From the shock of seeing a gecko run across the wall in my bedroom on the first day, to having to step around a snake on the way to church and catching poisonous millipedes in my room (see photos below), my previous mega-phobia of all things that crawled (particularly spiders) was challenged, to say the least! My new best friend became my mosquito net – once I was safely in bed and the net was tucked in under my mattress, no creepy crawlies could penetrate my safe zone, and that became my haven. However, as much as I got used to the animals scurrying around, I still don’t like spiders.

The aforementioned millipede...

A really big spider

A chameleon!

The aforementioned snake...


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A lesson in God’s sovereignty

Posted by lauraoli on October 1, 2010

I survived! I have now been back in the UK for just over a week, after spending 7 weeks in Madagascar at a mission hospital in the rural north-eastern part of the country.

My original criteria for an elective placement:

  1. An English speaking country
  2. A developed country
  3. Somewhere that didn’t require a long journey
  4. A highly specialised hospital, preferably paediatric

HVM, Mandritsara, Madagascar:

  1. A Malagasy/ French speaking country
  2. A developing country
  3. Outbound journey required a total of 18 hours flying time and a 22 hour taxi journey over the course of 4 days
  4. A generalised mission hospital, serving the needs of the community in the best way it can

Laura the surgeon!

Just a few short months ago, the idea of going to somewhere like HVM for 7 weeks was a ridiculous idea. I have never had any inclination to spend any length of time in Africa and I have always imagined my future to be here, in the UK.

However, God has certainly taught me over the last year that he is most definitely in charge and that he knows best.

I had the absolute time of my life in Mandritsara. I did things I never thought I could (including spending a night in a remote village with the Community Health Team, with no running water, no electricity, no phone signal, no toilets and no English speaking person) and my whole world has sort of been turned upside down.

In third year of medicine, I did 8 weeks of surgery and I hated every minute. I was certain I never wanted to be a surgeon. In Madagascar, Dr. Mann, the surgeon, is the only qualified surgeon for an area equivalent to Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey and Greater London combined. Without him, people with acute surgical emergencies would simply die. The difference he makes on a daily basis is incredible, and opened up my eyes to the possibility of specialising in something that would be the most useful, rather than the most enjoyable. I spent a lot of my time in theatre, and I began to realise I actually could enjoy it – something that I wasn’t expecting at all! God has also opened my eyes to the possibility of doing some sort of mission work in the future. Seeing the difference the hospital makes in the lives of the local community was wonderful, and incredibly rewarding.

There were many things I learned whilst away, and I had some amazing experiences. This is just the first post of many to come!

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