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Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo

Stephanie Duncan and young patient smile for photo


When Stephanie Duncan helps a child with severe burns or a man with a large tumor, she’s doing more than providing medical treatment. She’s also strengthening the patients’ community ties. In the Republic of Congo, where Duncan is a nurse aboard a large hospital ship, these connections are essential to preserving quality of life. “Many of the patients we treat have tumors or deformities that cause them to be outcasts,” the 2006 nursing graduate says. “They come to us desperate for an answer, for new life. And the awesome thing is that we get to provide that for them.” Stationed in Pointe-Noire, Duncan is part of Mercy Ships, an international charity that provides free health care, community development projects, health education, and more. Doctors and nurses aboard the ship donate their time and often spend their own money to work there. For Duncan, the sacrifices are worth it. “Working as a nurse in Africa has always been a dream of mine, and I finally get to see it lived out. It’s not easy to give up the comforts of home and leave family and friends, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”