Sister Mary Odondo writes of her ministry at Holy Spirit Hospital in Makeni, Sierra Leone:
In my ministry, I deal a lot with issues that affect people physically, psychologically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. One of the major problems that people from Sierra Leone are facing is the aftermath of trauma as a result of war. However some people are traumatized from all sorts of accidents for example from the road, electrical machines, snake bites, gunshots and burns but other people suffer from both terminal and non terminal diseases.
My work basically involves Pastoral Care, HIV Testing and Counseling, Trauma Counseling, Palliative Care, Grief and Loss Counseling and Health Education. I use the integral counseling skills and techniques when caring for my patients including children and adolescents. Sometimes I use psychotherapy to enable them deal with their traumas as well. I also work together with the interdisciplinary team for successful interventions in patient care.
From my experience, when people are in pain, they need a listening heart and safe environment to find deeper meaning in their struggle. From this kind of care, they are able to cope with their situations well. “I came so that they may have life to the fullest” (John 10:10). This scripture passage is an invitation that all humanity has to be treated with dignity and this helps to enable people recall any painful experiences with hope. For example instead of regretting about the past , they can begin to find another way of living with their present situations, instead of blaming others , they can begin to find creative ways of dealing with their issues, instead of being perturbed by their terminal illnesses , they can begin to find ways of alleviating their pain.
I also encounter some challenges such as language barrier and unjust structure within the country which hinders effective service delivery. In the midst of all these challenges, I still strive to bring Christ love to the most vulnerable groups especially children, adolescents and women.