Preparing for a medical mission is a combination of managing logistics, fund-raising, and expectations. This will be Wing Ip's third mission with IEP and her first to Namibia. In her own words, here's Wing's perspective.
I am both excited and intimidated about this upcoming trip. This will be my first medical mission to Namibia, so navigating a new system and new culture, I expect will have its challenges. I also am excited to experience all the beauties that Namibia has to offer.
Of course, performing surgeries is always exciting and intimidating on its own. Anything can happen during surgery. You'd be surprised the obstacles that a surgeon may face despite thorough preparation. But that’s where a surgeon’s experience and skills shine the most. I always prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
I am looking forward to bringing our surgical skills and knowledge to help the Namibian community and give people the opportunity to walk again. This is a population that has suffered a great deal from congenital, infectious, and traumatic foot and ankle deformities.
In my naïve mind, I simply thought that gathering a team, buying an airplane ticket, and having a heart full of eagerness would get us to our host country. It turns out that it requires a great amount of paperwork to get to our destination. This is why I am so appreciative of Henry Duvalsaint for pushing our team to gather all the paperwork, CVs, and visa applications in a timely manner so that we can volunteer in Namibia. (Side note: Rounding doctors is like herding cats...meow!)
Fundraising, which starts immediately after the previous mission, is an ongoing activity so that future missions can be sustainable.
I am going to Namibia to have an exchange of medical knowledge and camaraderie with the local doctors, but most importantly to serve the patients of Namibia. Last, but not least, I am there to learn from the best surgeons. Surgery is an art that is ever changing -- so as a surgeon, I am constantly learning and improving my skills.