• Catching up with Jane: the HOPE Centre

    Catching up with Jane: the HOPE Centre
    Plastics patients prepare to transfer from the Africa Mercy to the Hope Center for recovery after surgery.

    Plastics patients prepare to transfer from the Africa Mercy to the Hope Center for recovery after surgery.

    My first experience with the Hope Centre involved a renovation in Sierra Leone in 2011.

    Having arrived from our five week crew training in Texas, our group entered a large warehouse-type building to begin our field service -before the Africa Mercy arrived in Freetown. Fortunately, we had a number of skilled tradesmen among us…but the rest of us were pretty green at ‘building transformation’. In three short weeks, the space was rewired, air conditioning was installed, walls were constructed and painted, windows were cleaned and lights were hung.

    Little did I know the true meaning of the transformation that would take place beyond the brick and mortar.

    The Hope Centre is a place of hope…and a place of healing. Patients and their family members arrive several days before surgery to undergo pre-admission tests and to ensure they are present and ready when their surgery is scheduled, and their post-op ward bed is available. When one visits the patients who are waiting for their surgery, their excitement and their fear is palpable. Hope Centre staff try hard to keep these patients occupied with board games, bubbles, balloons, conversations, crafts, dancing, singing-and three square meals a day!

    Finally, the day before their surgery arrives. With joy and celebration the patients travel to the ship…and to the new life which awaits them.

    Time passes…for some it is just a few days of recovery on the ship…for others it is months. When the patients are deemed ready to return to the Hope Centre, they receive a welcome back fit for royalty.

    Transformation as wondrous as it is, is also a hard journey.  Learning to look at and know a ‘new you’… learning to walk again…to use freed limbs again …to see again –it all takes courage, emotional and physical strength. Again it is the joy-filled Hope Centre staff who help to make this time as nurturing and as supportive as possible.

    From bare walls to new lives….this is the Hope Centre story.

    Jane McIntosh volunteered with Mercy Ships for two years serving in Sierra Leone, Togo and Guinea. She headed up the Sterilizing Room, processing instruments for all surgeries. Jane currently works at Mercy Ships Canada in Donor Relations for Fundraising

    Mercy Ships Canada is VERY excited to announce our commitment to building the next HOPE Center in Cameroon for the 2017-2018 field service! The donations of Canadians will go towards the renovations of a center that is crucial to successful patient care. Stay tuned for updates, as the new HOPE Center gets closer to completion!

    The new HOPE Center is a huge project and we need your help to raise $1.3 million dollars to complete the project! Please consider giving a gift of any size today.



    before renovation

    HOPE Center before renovation

    Photo Credit Katie Keegan - Hope Center after renovations

    HOPE Center after renovations


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