Lifestyle

Nurse home from Africa stint

Rinnah Fry with a happy African patient.
Rinnah Fry with a happy African patient. Ryan Chen

BUNDABERG nurse Rinnah Fry has just returned from a two-month stint as a volunteer serving on the world's biggest charity hospital ship moored in the western African nation of Togo.

Global charity Mercy Ships operates the 16,000-tonne Africa Mercy, which provides about 7000 free life-saving surgeries each year in some of the poorest and most undeveloped nations in the world.

Miss Fry, 32, responded to an urgent call for nurses for the Togo assignment.

"When that call came, I thought I would see if it was possible to get time off work. It all fell into place," she said.

It was not an entirely new experience for the Bundaberg Hospital nurse, who has 10 years experience behind her, having served with Mercy Ships in Liberia in 2006.

The fully-contained ship can moor off any country and operate like any modern hospital, with six operating rooms. The vessel is staffed by volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and other healthcare professionals as well as 15 ex-British Army Gurkhas providing security.

"Volunteers come from all over the world including Canada, the United States, Germany, and New Zealand. There were about 26 Australians," Miss Fry said.

Volunteers must cover the cost of getting to the ship and pay $180 a week for food and accommodation.

Miss Fry said she would recommend the experience to others.

"Not only will it change someone's life, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how it will change you," she said.

"As I worked among patients, removing a dressing, giving medication, I always heard them singing.

"It was a common African song of praise: 'My God you are wonderful, my God you are excellent'."

Miss Fry said she cared for patients recovering from a range of different operations.

"I had to learn to work with translators and to cope with patients' care givers who slept under the hospital beds," she said.

"We are so privileged in Australia, and really don't have any idea of the desperation of so many Africans needing help."

Topics:  africa, charity, nurse


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

BALI MURDER: Fundraiser campaign to aid Sara Connor

A supplied image obtained Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 of Australian woman Sara Connor. The Byron Bay mother-of-two and her British boyfriend David James Taylor have been named as suspects in the death of Bali police officer Wayan Sudarsa, whose bloodied body was found on a Kuta beach early on Wednesday. (AAP Image/Sherpa Relations) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Friends have created a crowdfunding website to support her

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Together at last in one place

BUNNIES: Shearwater Class 4 students Mallee and Stan, sneak in a cuddle of their class spring bunnies.

SHEARWATER Steiner School open new Early Childhood Centre.

Latest deals and offers

Single-day tickets for each date of Falls Festival

FIND out when is every artist playing this year in Byron Bay.

BALI MURDER: Fundraiser campaign to aid Sara Connor

A supplied image obtained Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 of Australian woman Sara Connor. The Byron Bay mother-of-two and her British boyfriend David James Taylor have been named as suspects in the death of Bali police officer Wayan Sudarsa, whose bloodied body was found on a Kuta beach early on Wednesday. (AAP Image/Sherpa Relations) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Friends have created a crowdfunding website to support her

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Together at last in one place

BUNNIES: Shearwater Class 4 students Mallee and Stan, sneak in a cuddle of their class spring bunnies.

SHEARWATER Steiner School open new Early Childhood Centre.

You are going to Falls for this music line-up

CONFIRMED: Local artist Bernard Fanning is part of the line up for Falls Festival Byron Bay.

The line-up and ticket purchase details have been announced.

Coorabell digs up its time capsule

TIME CAPSULE: All the kids from Coorabell Public School ready to open up the time capsule.

COORABELL digs up its past this Friday

Photographer returns to showcase history of work

Renowned Australian photographer, John Elliott, has visited Crows Nest several times over the past twelve months collecting portraits of residents for his exhibition The Crows Nest Portrait Project. Photo Contributed

For Mr Elliott, photography is about capturing the moment

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Angie and Yvie ready to toast The Bachelor on Gogglebox

Angie and Yvie in a scene from the TV series Gogglebox.

ALL the regulars return in TV show about people watching TV.

You are going to Falls for this music line-up

CONFIRMED: Local artist Bernard Fanning is part of the line up for Falls Festival Byron Bay.

The line-up and ticket purchase details have been announced.

Rio 2016: So how many watched, tweeted it?

Jessica Fox in action during the Rio Games.

Tweets about #Rio2016 were viewed a staggering number of times

Cheap Fraser Coast island drops its price

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep