My phone rang today and it was one of the Gurkhas. They said a patient was waiting for me on the gangway. I looked at the calendar, nothing was booked but that doesn’t mean anything. They said they weren’t sure why she was here. I asked which patient it was and in their Nepalese accent they said Angely. I guessed they meant Angelique. I was surprised because she should be in her village by now. She was officially discharged a few weeks ago and has been staying with an uncle in Pointe Noire. Angelique and her son Riche live miles away and they need to get and train and a few trucks before they even get close to home.
I told the Gurkhas I was on my way to see what was going on. I must admit I was a little worried that her wound had broken down, that she had some kind of surgery related complication. I got there and it was Angelique. She was sitting on the dock in a beautiful blue flowery dress. It’s funny how when you catch only the left side of her face you realise how amazingly beautiful she is. The right side turns and you remember the heartache she has been through … the three operations, the problematic wound healing, the pain, the ridicule and all those dressings. But nevertheless beautiful to me.
She waved at me and laughed as I shouted “copina muna” which means my friend in KiKongo. She wrapped her arms around me in a way that only Angelique does, kinda snuggles her soft corse curly hair in to my neck. With that big grin you really have no choice but to smile. I asked what she was doing here and she said she knew we were going soon and wanted to come and say a final goodbye. She said she was very sad that I was leaving. I asked whether she had come for anything else, money, things, to see anyone else? She said no. Just to see me one last time. This is where the title came in.
She came all this way (she is staying far from the port and transport here is expensive!) just to see me. Me! A few sad tears fell out as I sat humbled by her act of friendship and beauty. What a women. We sat and chatted for a while and then said our goodbyes. I prayed for her and we had an elongated hug. I told her that she is a strong and beautiful women no matter what people say, then after our little pep talk we parted and she jumped back on a Mercy Ships car and drove away from this big white ship that we call home.
Again life is about love and loss … you’re not really living if you don’t experience either.
*Angelique lives in Mayonze, Congo. She had a large Maxilla Tumour that actually turned out to be a very rare form of Cancer. It grew back a little and so she had a few operations with us. She was less than 30kg on arrival even with a tumour weighing 2.5 kg she’s now more like 55kg. She seems to be doing fine now and so we hope she will be able to go back to her village and lead a normal life. *