When did you stay at Masanga?
Sept to Nov 2013 and Jan 2014
What was your motivation for going to Masanga?
I was looking for a new challenge when my kids left home. I looked at volunteering with quite a few NGOs, but they tended to be of the type where you rock up, do the operations, go home. As I’m involved with surgical training in the UK, I thought what CapaCare were doing in Sierra Leone might suit me better.
What was your first meeting with Masanga like?
I was pretty nervous actually. I’d never been to Africa and I really wanted to make a success of it. But not to worry, the Masanga welcome is lovely, people were very kind and I felt settled in quickly. I went out at the same time as Kyrre, who had been before which made things easy for me. The staff at the CapaCare house treated us so well.
What were your main duties while at the hospital?
Helping to train the STP students in surgical skills and abdominal surgery – working in the operating theatre, on the wards and in the classroom.
What have you learned from this experience?
I learnt: How warm and friendly the people are. How the whole team do so much with so little. How clever, skilful and committed the STP students are. How good it feels to help train people with such talent and dedication. How great the other volunteers were. How living abroad makes all English people turn to Downton!
I didn’t learn: to love those massive, recurrent hernias
What is your advice to others that are thinking about going to Sierra Leone and Masanga?
Well I’ve led a pretty conventional life, so if somebody like me can get on and do it you can too. Don’t think that you can go the once and then forget it – you get drawn in and you’ll want to keep going back.