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Today is our last full day in South Sudan. It is bitter-sweet. I am sad to leave, knowing the great need here. On the other hand, I am excited to go back to New York and begin writing grants and finding ways to improve life on the grounds. With the hours I have left, I am going to use them to the fullest, which includes me finally going into the operating room to witness some surgeries.

The first two surgeries were MCH family. Mary Garang’s niece, Mary, had her vocal chords repaired and Michael underwent surgery to remove a goiter from his neck. I put on my blue dress scrub and went to take photos. Paula and Christi were there assisting the surgical team. Mary did well and was out and recovering quickly. She is a brilliant young girl who came all the way from Kenya to visit her Aunt Mary and be seen by the doctors. Seven months ago she lost the ability to speak and she suffered damage to her cornea. I am sure she will be fully recovered and speaking in no time. For now, she speakes with a soft whisper. She has great ideas and a helpful spirit and has become like my Sudanese sister:) I am going to miss her.

Michael will also be missed. On Monday, he let me ride his motorcycle to meet the medical team at the airstrip…well, he drove and I rode on back. It was so fun! He is the funny guy who always has jokes and smiles. He was even smiling as he lay on the operating table, hooked up to IV and preparing for his surgery! Then the drugs kicked in and he was out. The procedure was quite long and he was still recovering when we left, so we did not get a chance to say goodbye. Get well soon Michael!

Praise God I made it through the sight of blood and needles to take some good photos and be there to encourage my new friends. I am awaiting updates on the other surgeries from the day. I went to the village with Gabriel and Simon to collect plastic bottles with the kids for our recycled crafts project. We got three bags full and the kids got candy:) It was a good day!