Putting big smiles on small faces

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July 7, 2016 12:00 AM

Local nurse Erin Muyres recently returned from Madagascar where she helped locals with surgeries aboard the African Mercy ship. Muyres is heading back on the African Mercy, this time to help in Benin West Africa, in September.

Local nurse devotes time to help transform afflicted kids

Erin Muyres has been bitten by the philanthropy bug.
Having just spent 10 months aboard the African Mercy ship, which was docked in Madagascar where she and other health workers helped perform surgeries on the impoverished people there, one might think a lengthy break would be in order.
Instead, Lloydminster native Muyres is getting ready to set sail again, leaving in September for Benin West Africa, where she’ll do it all over again for 12 more weeks.
“It was incredible,” she said of the experience in Madagascar.
“It was hard knowing what it was going to be like before I left, and so it was way more than I expected it to be; being able to use my nursing overseas was something that I’d never done before and it was very cool.”
Muyres worked as a pediatric ward nurse, helping patients before and after surgeries, of which they did more than 1,000 while they were docked in the country.
Doctors did maxillofacial surgeries, which involved removing tumours, fixing cleft lips and pallets, as well as general surgeries for problems like hernias, goiters and soft tissue tumours.
There were also orthopaedic surgeries for kids born with bowl legs, where doctors straightened the limbs so the children could grow up to be more productive members of society.
“Being able to see the patients’ lives transformed and the redemption that they experience, it’s really just so humbling and such a blessing to be able to be a part of their lives and help them through that time,” Muyres said.
“Just to be able to love them and be kind to them in a way they’ve never experienced before and they can find new life through that and it was just incredible—I just want to keep going back.”
Being there for 10 months, Muyres was able to take part in some of their patients’ journeys from beginning to end, journeys she said will be in her memory for the rest of her life.
The experience left such a mark on her, in fact, that she’s taking a course in tropical nursing in Liverpool after she finishes her second tour on the African Mercy.
It’s her hope, she said, that with the tropical nursing diploma, she can take her healing activities to the next level, though she’s not exactly sure yet what that might mean.
“I’ll be learning more about diseases and things that happen in third world countries that we don’t really see here, and how to treat and diagnose them, so I’m hoping that will also bring me to more experiences like this, I’m just not sure what they’re going to be yet,” Muyres said.

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