What are the chances of scrubbing in, entering the OR on the #AfricaMercy, and bumping into a close childhood friend you’d lost touch with almost forty-five years ago? For general surgeon James Smellie and ophthalmic surgeon Richard Newsom, an unexpected blessing to their journey awaited them both. “To meet up with an old school buddy in Senegal is just one of these amazing coincidences,” says Dr. Newsom. “When I saw James in the OR, it was a complete shock to me. I had no idea he was here.
The last time general surgeon James Smellie and ophthalmic surgeon Richard Newsom saw each other, it was in the classroom back in 1976. Their chance encounter volunteering on the #AfricaMercy, forty-five years later, is one of many magic moments that we experience at Mercy Ships.