Fulfilling a Lifelong Dream
For as long as Simon Edoh can remember, he’d had a dream and desire to serve. He felt this dream was finally coming to life with the opportunity to serve for two months on board the Africa Mercy®as a sterile processing technician.
Before Simon started his journey with Mercy Ships, he was working as an OR nurse in a hospital in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, where he and his wife raise their children, 12 and 13. Although he was thoroughly enjoying his life and job, the desire to share his skills and time kept growing. Simon wanted to give something to people in need.
“If I want to be happy, it’s when I give, not when I receive. If I want to be happy in life, I give.”
In 2017, Simon made the decision to act upon his aspirations and started looking for opportunities to serve. And when he came across Mercy Ships, he was convinced: this was his chance.
Dreams and Challenges
The moment he began filling out an application, Simon experienced a feeling of community.
“When I applied to Mercy Ships, the people in the organization were very helpful and answered every question I had,” he shared. “Without meeting any of the Mercy Ships staff physically during my application process, I felt at home. I knew I was in the right place to serve.”
Although Simon was dedicated to serving with Mercy Ships, he was surprised to be asked to serve as sterile processing technician, as there were no available roles for an operating room nurse. At first, Simon felt a sting of disappointment — he’d hoped to share his professional skills with the organization. Then he reminded himself of his purpose:
“Even without being there for surgery, I can work anywhere and do not mind whether it is in the ward, as a cleaner, or a cook. I just want to serve because everyone is important.”
Simon planned to come and serve on the Africa Mercy in Senegal in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ship left before he came on board.
But Simon was hopeful that his time would come.
“Mercy Ships promised to get back to me as soon as operations started again, and they did,” he shared. “I finally heard that I was able to come to Senegal in 2022.”
Approximately five years after taking his steps towards serving with Mercy Ships, Simon walked up the gangway of the Africa Mercy to fulfil his lifelong dream.
The start of something new
When Simon started as a sterile processing technician, he was responsible for decontaminating, washing, and sterilizing surgical instruments and medical equipment. Despite not being in direct contact with patients, he was aware of the importance of his role. Every time he would sterilize equipment for surgery, he worked with the patient in his mind.
Outside of his work, Simon found great encouragement in being part of the ship’s community.
“I have never been in this kind of community,” Simon said. “There is an atmosphere of friendship and teamwork. Everybody wants to help, not minding your color, assets, or where you come from. Since I was born, I have never experienced anything like this.”
When Simon left the Africa Mercy after two months of service, the mission of Mercy Ships was engraved in his heart.
“Some people have lost hope, but when I look at Mercy Ships’ mission statement, I know that there is always hope.”
Simon also returned home with sterilizing experience and newfound knowledge that he wishes to share in his home country, so that the healthcare system in Nigeria may benefit from his experience.