My alarm goes off at 5:15 am on Wednesday mornings. I roll over and come close to falling out of my top bunk bed. I climb down the ladder quietly in hopes of not waking up my cabin-mates in the ungodly hours of the morning. I am a night owl, but this is something important. Its breakfast. Pancakes for the crew. For the crew that come to serve onboard the Africa Mercy so others like me can work in the hospital to serve the people of Africa. This is my way to give back and show my appreciation for others that come to volunteer on the ship so I can as well.
Since we arrived in Togo, I have been in charge of the Sterilizing Department in the OR and have had trainees under me. You may ask what do pancakes have to do with sterilizing? I am not sure, but it is great team building! So I have the early risers meet me at 5:30 am and we head to the main galley to join the hospital manager in making pancakes for 400 crew members. Eggs have to be separated and the whites whipped. Flour, sugar, and milch (shelf milk) are mixed and the whites folded in. The grill is turned on for a minute and then turned off before we pour the batter because there is no temperature gage besides our caramelized pancakes. Syrup and blueberries are set out in the dining room. The production line starts at 6:30 and we pour, flip, and carry the hot trays of pancakes down stairs for a hour. Every once in awhile smiley face pancakes come up and I find that same smile on the crew member awaiting a hot breakfast. The last of the batter makes our breakfast and the dirty dishes are collected at the sink and I'm thankful I don't have to do them. Just a few hours after my alarm went off, I find myself back in the OR and smelling like pancakes. One of my trainees mentioned to me, that spraying the bleach on the countertops is just like spraying the olive oil on the grill... exactly what I was thinking. Now I know how sterilizing and pancakes are related.