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Friday, August 29, 2008

Where Did Tuesday Go?

Did we miss something during our time here in Liberia? Has the world cancelled Tuesdays in September and replaced them with another Thursday. That's what our family Winnie the Pooh calendar says!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nathanael Starts Nursery

Last week Nathanael started Nursery for the first time. Unfortunately there hasn't been a nursery teacher available this year so the parents are running it. So Sharon is frantically doing a lot of googling to come up with craft ideas for under 3's.
Nathanael has certainly got into the swing of it, joining his 5 friends. They enjoy activities such as fun play, singing, stories, craft and outside play.
In the meantime, if anybody has some good ideas for nursery kids, Sharon would GREATLY appreciate it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A New Logo

Mercy Ships has a new logo.
Mercy Ships wanted to be clear in the key aspects that bind our organization: Ships, Medical, Global and of course our Christian heritage. The logo is mainly a ship with the medical cross on the side. A Christian Cross serves as our ships antenna and a globe is transmitted from the antenna (or Cross) and envelopes our ship.
With support from the UK office, Mercy Ships were given an audience with Saatchi & Saatchi in London. This firm is a worldwide specialist in Brand Development and they provided their services at a substantial discount!

Friday, August 22, 2008

African Food

Whilst living in Africa we get to try out a lot of the local recipes. This is Nathanael's favourite food, Plantain. Plantain is a close relative of the banana. It looks like banana, but is bigger, longer and has a thicker skin and often needs to be cooked before eaten. It is sometimes called plantain banana and contains a low GI starch, excellent for weight control (that makes us happy!), slow energy release and good for diabetics, with surpassing nutritional value. It can be cooked in various ways, boiled, roasted, mashed, baked or grilled. The most popular here is frying in palm oil and they also make good chips.

So if you are ever near an international supermarket, pop in and see if they have any for sale, in the words of Nathanael it's very "yum yum"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kidney Rumors

One of the many aspects of Tim's job is the security of the ship & it's crew. Recently the Africa Mercy has been on the receiving end of some rumors that are being spread throughout the local area in regards to Mercy Ships being involved with buying kidneys and selling them abroad. This has resulted in people approaching a Mercy Ships clinic to offer kidneys for sale and also harassment to both crew and local Liberians who are working with us. Last week the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Health Minister, Dr. Gwenigale, got involved and arranged a press conference in the hope to put these rumors aside. After the press conference Dr. Gwenigale asked to come to the ship and brought along a huge trail of press & photographers so they could see for themselves the work that Mercy Ships does.
Tim hosting the Health Minister
They walked the wards and met with the crew. We are so grateful for the support of the government to enable us to do the work that we do. Below is a press article as a result of this. -
L-R: Min. Gwenigale, Mr. Samuel Smith and Asst. Min and Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, Dr. Bernice Dahn A. M. Johnson
Gov't Defends Mercy Ships Dismisses 'Kidney Buying' Rumors By Alaskai Moore Johnson Published: 18 August, 2008
Mr. Sam Smith: "We do not perform internal organ surgery" A. M. Johnson
MONROVIA, The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), has come to the defense of Mercy Ships or Africa Mercy in the wake of rumors that the Ships was dealing in “kidney buying” from victims that fell prey to evil men. “We have an information about rumors that are going around that people on Mercy Ships are buying kidneys, and selling them in Europe or the United States; this is not true; it is blatant lie,” Dr. Walter G. Gwenigalie, Health and Social Welfare Minister stated in a very strong mood.
The medical doctor added: “Mercy Ships has served the people of Liberia since 2003 with high medical standards and distinction. It is a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978.”
It can be recalled recently that a story on the FrontPageAfrica.com website, written by one of its correspondents in Monrovia, reported that there were rumors that Mercy Ships was allegedly involved in “ritualistic killing designed to extract kidneys and other human parts for commercial purposes”.
The site's story continues: “In the past four months, some bodies that were found with missing kidneys include Mack Nimbo, a deportee from the USA whose body was discovered at the Barnersville Junction, outside Monrovia with the back open and kidneys removed. “A taxi driver only identified as Sumo was also discovered with kidneys removed at Armed Bush curve in Kakata, Margibi County. An unidentified body of a man believed to be in his 50s was found with kidneys extracted, under the Gabriel Johnson Tucker Bridge (New Bridge) in Monrovia. An old lady, only known as Ma Wata was abducted from her house midnight in the Jamaica Road area, and was found in an old toilet house with kidneys removed two days later,” the report in the Frontpage maintained.
“Monrovia has been buzzing as residents debate on the allegations involving those reportedly behind the buying of kidneys. As rumors were widely spreading, some residents have been suggesting that they heard that Mercy Ships was involved in buying kidneys,” the report added. Dr. Gwenigalie, in his reaction to the story, vehemently refuted it and said the Mercy Ships was not only involved in performing life-saving operations but was also helping in building clinics and other facilities in various communities around Liberia.
Dr. Gwenigale defended Mercy Ships at a well-attended press conference jointly held by his Ministry and Mercy Ships officials on Friday, August 15, 2008 at the MoHSW.
Dr. Gwenigale trying to demonstrate the impossibility of transplanting unsterile kidneys A. M. Johnson
The international chief executive officer of Mercy Ships, Samuel T. Smith, responding to a question from a reporter as to whether they perform surgical works on kidneys, said: “Mercy Ships does not carry on or perform any internal organ operation involving the kidneys, heart, etc.” He said that they are involved in reconstructing the face, eye, tumor, among other surgeries. Journalists were barred from asking more questions to Mr. Smith by Minister Gwenigale who said, “I call you here, so ask me all the questions and leave Mercy Ships alone but if you like, you can follow us on the Ships, we are on our way there right now.”
Still trying to show the impossibility of using or transplanting unsterile kidneys and maybe other human parts, the learned Minister, who himself is a surgeon, stated: “It is of course true that in a few countries in the world it is possible for very advanced medical personnel to transplant human kidneys from a donor to a person whose own kidneys have failed. This is an exceedingly complex and risky surgical procedure, requiring specialized equipment that is found in only a few countries on this earth. Only surgeons with long years of experience are capable of even doing such transplants.
“Speaking as a surgeon myself, it is preposterous to even think that a human kidney removed by amateurs in unsterile conditions could possibly be used for a medical transplant. Organs such as kidneys used for transplants must be removed under sterile conditions by experienced surgeons, and then stored under very closely controlled conditions. They must be used very quickly - there can be no delay in transplanting the organ into the recipient.
“From this very brief description, any sensible person will clearly understand that there is no possible way that a person's kidney - or any other organ - could be removed by an amateur and still be useful for a transplant.
“There is no possible way that any representative of Mercy Ships would even consider receiving such an organ - free or for money. There is no possible way that any such organ would have any cash value for any medical purpose. There is no possible way that an organ could be carried to the recipient in time to be useful for a transplant. There is no possible way that the would-be organ seller could escape arrest and prosecution for this illegal act.”
Minister Gwenigale concluded by saying, “If anyone hears a report of the sale of any human organs, I ask you to report it immediately to the police, and to call me personally at the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare so that our own investigation can put an end to these preposterous, false, and malicious rumors.”
Mr. Smith and MOH officials listening to Dr. Gwenigale, in background are journalists who had come to cover the press conference
Photo by A. M. Johnson ©2008 LiberianObserver.com

Saturday, August 09, 2008

African Boy

We thought you'd all like to see Nathanael's first African outfit. We saw it hanging up at a tailors shop a few weeks ago and couldn't resist it at the good price of $5. Now he's a true African boy!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Man Utd Show Room Centre

We are fascinated by the sights we see when we drive around Liberia, whether it's from a guy with a great big TV on his head, women selling chicken feet at the market, everybody seemingly walking around with English football club umbrellas (where did they get them from?), gas filling stations with, what appear to be, only glass jars with petrol in, lots of wheelbarrows with goods for sale and beauty salons which look worse then anyones backyard shed. From time to time we will share pictures of these sights. This one is particularly for Sharon's Dad, our friend, Jamie Fox and all those Manchester United fans out there. It actually says on the side of the shed that they do the following: charge phone, exchange money, cut hair and rent disc, so if you are ever stuck, you know where to come boys. (tip: if you click on the picture you can get a bigger view!)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Tim Takes Command

Today Tim took command of the Africa Mercy as he moves to the position of Captain for 2 months until the current Captain returns from his LOA. Last night, Mercy Ships current CEO, prayed over him as he took over from Capt Jon who has been filling in for a short time. It's an honour to have been chosen to fulfill this role after seeing the ship through it's construction phase and now in full operation and Tim prays that in all that he does will bring glory to God. Please pray for Tim as he takes on this added responsibility.