A French-speaking Canadian Volunteer on board
Volunteer Opportunity: French as an Asset
Most people who meet Céline on board the Africa Mercy will hear a “Bonjour! Comment ça va?” or “Merci!” She is happy to greet other volunteers in French as they pass her by. Since Mercy Ships works primarily in French-speaking countries in West Africa, Céline confirms that her ability to communicate in a language familiar to the patients is a privilege and a relief to them who are sometimes overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation. For most beneficiaries who have never been to a modern hospital, coming aboard our hospital ships is both exciting and unsettling. The entire team on board makes sure to give them a warm welcome and Céline, all smiles, makes sure to do so in the language of Molière.
An Organization of Choice
A few years ago, Céline, nearing retirement, was looking for a volunteer involvement that would match her passion. While working as a pediatric nurse, a doctor from the Montreal Children’s Hospital (https://www.thechildren.com/) presented a case from one of his services on the Africa Mercy. This presentation was love at first sight for Céline. She was convinced that she had found her organization of choice to get involved.
For Céline, the Mercy Ships mission combines her deep desire to help transform each patient’s life as well as to serve in Africa. This is her fourth mission and she is returning because she says that “seeing the smiles, the gratitude of the patients and building friendships with international colleagues” are rewards well worth the time and energy invested.
Finding Your Place
In addition to her involvement as a nurse, Céline’s generosity has left its mark. In 2021, she didn’t hesitate to join the Global Mercy in its equipping phase to support the mission and help prepare the ship for its first mission. In 2023, she is back as a pediatric nurse serving on the very first surgical mission of the newest ship in the Mercy Ships fleet. She not only brings all her experience, but above all her contagious passion for her profession and her young patients.