A local nurse will be setting sail for Africa next month where she will be volunteering her skills to help impoverished children in need of medical care.
Erin Muyrese, who will be departing for Madagascar on Aug. 8, will be working as a paediatric ward nurse on a charity hospital ship called the African Mercy. While there she will spend 10 months taking care of kids before and after their needed surgeries.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Muyrese. “I’m a little bit nervous. It’s a very long time to go, but I’m very excited.”
Though her upcoming trip is going to be lengthy, Muyrese is no stranger to travelling for charity. She’s gone on trips with the Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse to Malawi, Africa, where they put on a youth conference and she’s paid a few visits to Mexico to help build houses for the people there.
She says her fondest memories of trips like these are just meeting people and forging new relationships with the people she goes to help.
“You kind of go down sometimes thinking you’re going to bless people because we’re using what we have here, but they end up blessing you more just with their gratefulness and their joy,” Muyrese said.
Three years ago she graduated from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton with a nursing degree and after working in the obstetrics field in Lloydminster for a couple years, she moved to Saskatoon where she spent a year doing pediatrics. Muyrese says she was drawn to nursing because she always wanted to work with kids and considers the job a perfect fit.
As for the Africa Mercy, a ship run by the international charity Mercy Ships, which uses volunteer based hospital ships to give free transformational surgeries to those in need in developing nations, she says she stumbled upon it one day while surfing the web looking for ways to ply her trade.
“I was just looking for opportunities to use my nursing and I kind of stumbled upon it and since then I’ve seen it everywhere of course when your looking for it,” she said. “There’s Sevenly, a company that makes t-shirts and the proceeds go to non-profit organizations. They had Mercy Ships on there a few years ago then that kind of spiked my interest.”
During the stay in the port of Toamasina, Madagascar, which extends from August until June 2016, the Mercy Ship plans to conduct over 2,200 surgeries for adult and child patients onboard as well as treat over 10,000 people at a land-based dental clinic. They will also provide holistic healthcare education to local health-care professionals.