Volunteers light up the decks of the Africa Mercy with their smiles and big hearts each and every day!
It takes a lot of courage to sign up for any amount of time with Mercy Ships. Why? Individuals are raising their own funds to fly across the world, live in tight quarters aboard a ship with people they have not met, be thrown into often times fast paced jobs where they’ve got to be in their toes, all while being introduced to a completely new culture with language barriers.
Some may find this daunting, but there is little apprehension from most volunteers. While slightly nervous, they are mostly excited and know it’s something they want to do and feel they are supposed to do. Thinking of the people they are going to help usually trumps most fears.
Mercy Ships volunteers are helping individuals become active members of their communities again, allowing them to work, to go to school, to regain respect, to fill them with hope and most importantly live a happier and healthier life.
Mercy Ships plants roots in each country visited through the local people who receive free surgery, and the health care professionals who are trained and continue to share what they have learned with others after the Africa Mercy departs.
Volunteers keep Mercy Ships afloat, we would not be able to do what we do and help so many people without the selfless acts of each and every person who commits their time and skills to the Mercy Ships cause.
A HUGE THANK YOU to our Canadian volunteers as well as international, for all that you do!
In the words of Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau,
“Volunteers look for opportunities to contribute their time, passion, and skill to make a positive difference in the lives of others. They believe—and know—that better is always possible.”
Welcome to the most delicious food in Toamasina, available exclusively at the Hospital OutPatient Extension (HOPE Center) Prepared and served by an incredible team of eleven cooks lead by Danielle Andriaharilala.
With a patient and caregiver population over two hundred, along with the OBF Clinic and the Dental Team, Danielle and her crew produce over 3,000 meals in a week, and that is just lunch and dinner!
Over this past summer the existing kitchen was expanded to accommodate a new freezer and provide more working space. Also, a few months into the field service, an additional sheltered area was built for the added coal buring stoves that are used to cook all the food.
So approximately how much rice does it take to serve over 3,000 meals in one week? Remember, this is Madagascar. Danielle cooks 1 ton of rice every week along with fresh vegetables, Zebu, fish, pork, chicken and a wide variety of the local seafood!
Danielle has been a cook for 25 years. Before the arrival of Mercy Ships Danielle catered weddings and sold food to shops and bakeries.
Thank you Danielle and team for your dedicated service to the guests, crew and day crew of the HOPE Center. You have played a vital role in the healthy recovery of our patients and have done so with excellence, joy and humility.
Written by Martha Rodriguez, HOPE Center Manager
We are excited to share with you our recent partnership with Jonathan Byrd, an incredible “folk singer with the heart of a rock and roll band.” As Byrd travels across Western Canada delighting audiences with his bluegrass and Dylan inspired music, he will also be sharing the story of Mercy Ships.
Touring with Corin Raymond, Jonathan Byrd will be performing at a venue near you and you’re invited! If you live in and around the following areas, we would love it if you could attend a show.
If you’re a fan of Johnny Cash and/or Doc Watson you are sure to enjoy a special evening full of great story telling and a tinge of heart-ache.
Support two very talented musicians and Mercy Ships!
April 7th – Winnipeg, MB – West End Cultural Centre
April 8th – Dauphin, ON Watson Art Centre
April 9th – Regina, SK – The Exchange
April 10th – Calgary, AB – The Ironwood Stage & Grill
April 11th – Valemount, BC – Royal Canadian Legion
April 13th – Comox, BC – Sea Breeze Lodge
April 15th – Duncan, BC – Duncan Showroom
April 16th – Victoria, BC – Copper Owl
April 17th – Vancouver, BC – Rogue Folk Club
April 18th – Kamloops, BC – St. Andrews on the Square
April 20th – Edmonton, AB – The Almanac
April 21st – Lloydminster, AB – The Root
April 23rd – Turner Valley, AB – Flare n’ Derrick Community Hall
April 22nd – Camrose, AB – Bailey Theatre
April 24th – Ponoka, AB – Rita and Pierre’s
This April give someone the amazing gift of a new beginning! Patients travel from near and far, often selling their possessions to make the journey to wait in line for hours to be seen by the Mercy Ships screening team and given an appointment card to walk up the gangway and board the Africa Mercy, where they will receive free life changing surgery.
Without your help, their would be no tomorrows for many and bleak futures for thousands. However, we are so happy to be able to say that with such amazing support, one by one lives are changed and the futures of not only the individual, but those connected to that individual are changed.
After our patients go home, you don’t usually see what happens next, but the ripple effect of their new beginning flows into areas of family life, community life, and the sharing of knowledge (such
as dental hygiene).
For the month of April your gift will be MATCHED, which means you’re doubling the difference being made in so many people’s lives!DOUBLE YOUR GIFT TODAY
Easter represents new beginnings, fresh starts, hope and the journeys we go on to reach the next chapter in our lives, which can often be difficult. The journeys our patients go on are each unique but share a common thread of the need for health care, which in the countries we serve, is mostly inaccessible and unaffordable.
The Africa Mercy is a reflection of Easter as it also represents hope and new beginnings. We wish we could introduce you to all of our patients in person and let them tell you about the journey they have been on but we cannot. Instead for the month of April we are going to show you through pictures one particular patient’s entire journey with Mercy Ships, from when he heard about a ship that was providing free health care to when he walked up the gangway with an appointment card, to the day he was a changed man and began his journey home, accompanied by six volunteers who made it their mission to get him back to his village and family safe and sound.
You may have heard of or remember Sambany. His 16.45 lb tumour weakened him to the point of death. After hearing about Mercy Ships and selling a rice field to pay for the journey, it took five people taking turns carrying him on their backs for two days and a painful six-hour taxi ride to reach the Africa Mercy.
It also took the blood of 12 volunteers onboard the ship to make sure he survived his surgery and could begin the next chapter of his life.
The mission was nicknamed “the fellowship of Sambany” all you Lord of the Rings buffs may clue in to the reference, but for those who have not read or seen the Lord of the Rings “the Fellowship of the Ring” a group of friends travelled far and overcame much to get a very important ring back to the place it came from.
This April, please follow along on our facebook page as we show you each day how Sambany’s journey home unfolded.