Home            About Us            Newsletters            Support Us            Links            Contact Us

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas & Newsletter

Sending our Christmas greetings to all of you.

We also have our newsletter for you, please click on the picture below to view it:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Presidents Visit

Last October (Sorry, we are still catching up with our news!) we had the opportunity to host the president of Guinea, His Excellency Professor Alpha Condé onboard the Africa Mercy.
It actually came at a bit of a surprise.  A French naval vessel was docked behind us and they had the big welcoming party with the French ambassador.  Then there was a lot of activity with a big band, lots of army men with guns, all the traffic in and out of the port was stopped and when that happens you know someone important is coming.  
The president arrived to tour the navy ship and during his tour he decided he was going to pay us a visit.  We had 2 hours notice and suddenly there was a flurry of activity on board.  Usually when we have presidents visiting it takes days of preparation and maybe in someways this way did save us some time.  Irons were red hot in the laundry room as crew ironed uniforms and dresses, cleaners were out with their vacuums, photographers running around with camera's, PR putting up back drops, preparing speakers, PA's locating their bosses because they had popped out for business ashore, Hospitality rounding up coffee cups and nibbles, finding tour guides, getting the ward patient's ready for a visit from their president, you name it went on.
One of our nurses, Rachel, explains the corrective procedure for cleft lips and palates, patients were facinated that they had a visit from their president.
President Condé toured the hospital, even one patient was surprised to wake up following her surgery to find the president standing at the end of her bed.  Following the tour the President and his entourage were escorted to the International Lounge for a presentation. Crew were present as a strong demonstration of appreciation and respect to the President and his government for enabling and supporting the Mercy Ships medical mission in Guinea.
Our Managing Director spoke with great sincerity about the improvement in health outcomes that Guinea has achieved over the past ten years, adding that, “Mercy Ships is pleased to be here to help with this progress. Through the direct specialized surgeries we will provide, along with capacity building, training and partnership activities, our goal is to increase the level of health care. We could not do this without the Government of Guinea.”
President Condé expressed his appreciation for how much he had learnt about Mercy Ships on his tour. “I now know that this is truly an international mission of over 1,000 volunteers coming during a field service – including 26 families with children. The people of Guinea are deeply thankful to the crew for the hard work, spirit of sacrifice and hope you bring here.”
Speaking with great emphasis, President Condé acknowledged the hope found in restorative surgeries. “People with deformities cannot live in the community. They are ashamed and they hide. When the great healing from Mercy Ships happens to them, it shows them, and everyone, that it does not matter what you look like today – there is always hope.” President Condé was especially grateful for Mercy Ships reaching out to Guineans living away from Conakry and also in hiding. “Mercy Ships will give them hope to come out of hiding.”
Following his presentation, President Condé concluded his visit by shaking hands with every Mercy Ships volunteer at the presentation. For all it was a great honor to receive the President’s personal thank you.
That evening Tim was watching the local news on the TV and the visit was showed on TV which was fun to watch after having seen it from the other side.  Click below to see part of that news report.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Chef Competitions

There are times when a little fun is in order to bring a team together.  Tim got a cryptic note one day to report to the crew mess at 17:00.  On arriving he found the rest of the deck department who had also got the same note.  They were split into teams and tasked to come up with a team name, make hats and don their pinnies (aprons).

The challenge?

(an alternative to MasterChef)

They all took over the crew galley and Tim's team were in charge of the salads.
The new Chief Officer looks like a good hand at cooking!
They finished up on deck 7 to share their culinary successes/failures?!?
 The salad result (Tim even made a special dressing!)
 The hamburgers
 The results
Thank you Daniel for arranging an entertaining event, even us wives enjoyed watching the rare occasion of our husbands cooking

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hospital Open House and Fall Festival

Every year the hospital hold and open house.  It gives those who aren't fully involved with the hospital to see how it works, experience IV's, doing some surgery, emptying bed pans, you know all those medical type things that nurses and doctors so lovingly do on a daily basis.

We usually take Nathanael down and it ends up with us holding him because he is too nervous and likes to just watch.  Well this year he surprised us and got stuck in BIG TIME.  We even wondered whether he was our child.  It's amazing how 1 years worth of growth and experiences can change a child.  So naturally we encouraged him to dive in.
Learning how to insert an IV into a pretend arm
What it's like to be a patient and carry your IV bag around with you.
How to be a nurse and look after patients
Perform CPR
Check out the OR instruments
Be a surgeon
do a bit of blood work in the lab and check out the Malaria cells
and even see real blood.
Not bad for an evening full of work/play. To sum it up, here's a video of the action which we have a chuckle at every time we watch it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Answer to Prayer-Long Term Chief's

Many of you have committed to pray for a while for a long term Chief Engineer and Chief Officer.  Well God has answered your prayers.  This last month we have now got two long term crew filling the positions.  Ananda has been working hard at passing his exams and after a time in Southampton, UK this year he successful passed and was able to be promoted from 2nd Engineer to take over as Chief Engineer.  Ananda has been with Mercy Ships a long time serving on various ships and having worked in Newcastle during the ship conversion, he knows the ship like the back of his hand.  So naturally Tim was been excited about him working alongside him.  He has a great heart for people and we are sure he will be an encouragement to his department.  Here is a clip of his commissioning into his role.
Tim was also very happy to hear that a another good friend had passed his Chief Officers exams after a year near Blackpool, UK.  Tim first encountered Jan on the Caribbean Mercy as the bosun and Tim was struck by his "dutchie" attention to detail.  We have seen Jan gradually work his way up and having also been involved with the conversion in Newcastle he had a head start in knowing how the ship works.  Jan and his family re-joined the ship in August and we are glad to have them on board again.
Please join us in continuing to pray for these Godly men as they help to lighten Tim's load.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Guinea Arrival

At the end of August we arrived in Conakry, Guinea with our advance team waiting on the dock to share all about this wonderful country.
 Nathanael came with his class to wave his flag....
 and of course shouting really loud (see video below)
There was also a band that played us in
 After arrival there are many things that have to be put in place, like all the lines are tied to the dock, the gangway is dropped down and attached to the gangway.  Then we begin an arrival ceremony.  All the crew line up on deck 7 & 8 to be part of the event and it is always special when we see the flag of the country we are in being carried down the gangway.  This time it was done by 3 academy students as we didn't have a crew member from Guinea.
Then there was lots of work to do to get everything set up in 2 weeks to start screening and surgeries.  The screening went well and we were able to work extra hours to get it completed in one day.  Not all the surgery slots were filled, but gradually crew members come across potential patients in the street and so over time the places will be filled.  Here are some pictures from the screening.
 People waiting to be seen
 Nearly all the crew are involved in the screening day, some give out water, others escort the patients, some help with security to keep the crowds controlled, others with the prayer team, there is so much to do.  The planning that is done by our hospital team is amazing and so organised that all the bases are covered.
 People come with many problems, some we can't help, others we can....at the end of day they feel like somebody has listened, cared and given them a hope in Jesus.
 Some are blessed with an appointment card and you always tell who they are by the BIG smiles! 
 Please pray for our time here as more are reach with the love of Jesus. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Our New Cabin

We are finally (nearly) settled in the new cabin and getting back into a routine.  Nathanael can actually now play in his room with a friend, he has so much extra room.  We can actually walk around both sides of the double bed now and we even have a freezer!  It's the small things in life that make things easier.  So we thought we'd share a few pictures of it:
Our hallway:
Our living room:
 Living room with back to the window
 Our Bedroom
 Nathanael's bedroom 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Most of you are aware that there seems to be a few "Guinea's" in this world.  So which one are we at?  As you go down the West Side of Africa (you might need to click on the picture for a bigger view) you will find Guinea surrounded by Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Bissau and Senegal. 
Why Guinea?

According to the last Human Development Index, Guinea is placed at 178, that's in the bottom 10 out of a total of 187 countries.  You can click here to see the latest stats for Guinea and click on each heading for stats

142 out of 1000 children die at birth
680 out of 100,000 women die in childbirth
Life expectancy is 54
43% of the population live below $1.25 per day

There are enormous needs for health care (check out Global Health Facts for more details):

Attendance of a skilled health worker at birth is 46%
1.3 per 10,000 health care workers per person (that includes Nurses, Midwives and Doctors)
3 hospital beds per 10,000 (UK-33/USA-30)

We look forward to serving and partnering with those who work and live in Guinea.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Nathanael Starts Kindergarten

Where has the last 5 years gone.  In the middle of August the new school year started and this time it was different for Nathanael as he entered into full time school starting in the Kindergarten class.  Before August we were expecting his class to consist of just 2 with his remaining pre-school buddy, Renier, joining him.    
On our return we were surprised to hear that another family was joining the ship and so now there are 3 with Caleb joining them.  The night before school started they opened up the classroom so we can all visit and meet the teachers.  Nathanael is in a bigger room which has been divided into 2 to accommodate grade 2's classroom aswell.
 Nathanael's african pencil case and we love the inventive way of little bags that hang over their chairs to hold their books.  We have some amazing creative people on this ship.
This is Miss Leah, Nathanael's Kindergarten teacher.  Last year she only had one student in her class so her class size has "tripled".  She comes from Australia and she has recently got engaged - so congratulations!! 
Such a small boy for such a big bag!  Going full time also meant he needed a bigger bag for his papers
The first day started off with us all meeting in the International lounge where they were called out by class and taken off to their classroom.  Here is Nathanael with the Kindergarten class.
He's also having to get into the routine of homework each day.

Meanwhile he is loving school and is even getting to learn French, Computers and Science, he has quite full schedule which keeps him very busy.