Volunteering with Operation Smile
One of our volunteers, Lindsay Anderson was on our recent medical mission to Ghana. She shares her experience of what inspired her to start volunteering for Operation Smile.
It was a usual day in the Operating Theatre doing my job as a senior Theatre Practitioner, when I overheard Dr Clive Duke, our Consultant Anaesthetist, talking animatedly about his latest mission with Operation Smile. I was inspired and excited by his enthusiasm for the organisation and touched by his fabulous photos. I found myself speaking to Clive about his experiences and the possibility of me going on a mission as an Operation Room (OR) nurse.
My first mission was to Hanoi, Vietnam – a mega mission and a very big team. It was overwhelming at first but everyone made me feel at ease and as soon as I saw the babies and children, I felt a massive sense of purpose.
I have since been on two medical missions to Ghana and I’ve grown fond of the teams. The leadership was strong and positive and even under stressful circumstances they remained constant, working tirelessly and selflessly. The energy was always positive, even on long days. There was always a sense of achievement and the fact that we were all working towards the same goal made us willing to go that extra mile. We worked long hours to complete every patient on the list and in doing so, changed lives forever.
It was an honour to be trusted by parents to care for their precious children. The almost immediate results after surgery was amazing to see and the grateful patients and parents a joy to behold.
It's a huge sense of accomplishment to do this work and although it sounds a little corny, it feels good for the soul. I return to my job after a mission with a new awareness, new ideas, refreshed and thankful, feeling humble from the heart wrenching stories and honoured to be part of such an amazing organisation.