Meet our International Crew: Andrew Rothwell
With characteristic humor, operations director Andrew Rothwell says the thing he loves most about working on board the Mercy Ship is the short commute to work – one flight of stairs from his cabin, and 30 seconds later he’s in his office.
The Australian joined Mercy Ships initially in a short term capacity as a vehicle mechanic in 2010. Andrew loved the work so much that he returned full-time the following year in the Sierra Leone, with his wife Jodie and daughter Jessica. He explains, “A lot of the fears I had about joining Mercy Ships longer term evaporated because of the people I met and got to know on board. There is almost a family-type atmosphere of inclusiveness here.”
After serving for two years as the vessel’s Engineering Storeman, Andrew transferred back to transportation, and spent another two years managing the Africa Mercy fleet of vehicles. The 26 four-wheel drives are an essential component of the on-shore work Mercy Ships provides each field service.
Each day, Mercy Ships teams are transported to the dental clinic, the Hospital Out Patient Extension (HOPE) Centre, patients are moved, and supplies are relocated. Weekly, the vehicles negotiate rough terrain to reach villages for palliative care and to allow the Communications team to follow up with patients’ stories after they have returned home. Keeping the fleet well maintained is a matter of crew safety as well as efficiency.
Andrew continues some oversight of the transportation department in his recent role as Operations Director. He describes this executive role as managing everything on board that is non-medical and non-maritime; everything that allows the 480+ crew members to live life on the Mercy Ship.
He continues, “The reason I like Mercy Ships is that we leave a lasting impact wherever we go. You can put your skill and experiences to use for a higher purpose – to make a difference with the skills and abilities you are given- and feel good at the end of your work day.”
Andrew reflects over his voluntary service in Togo, Sierra Leone, Guinea, the Congo and Madagascar. His most poignant moments have been observing ophthalmic patients having their eye bandages removed after cataract surgery.
He loves participating in the event that allows eye patients to share what their healing has meant to them. “The Celebration of Sight is very touching,” he reflects. “It’s like a miracle happens before you. The reaction of someone looking around and saying, ‘I can see I can see!’ is amazing! This is why we’re here.”
As we approach the close of this year, let us take a moment to reflect on the challenges and trials faced by so many, especially those who have experienced profound loss. This season, while we gather with loved ones to celebrate, let’s also remember those who are still suffering, those who have lost their way, and those who have lost their faith in a better tomorrow.
During this holiday season, we invite you to join us in this mission of compassion, faith, and renewal.
Your generosity can make a real and lasting impact.
This Christmas season, let’s come together as a community of faith and support to bring restoration to people who have lost so much. Mercy Ships Canada is on a mission to heal and transform the lives of Children and adults in need. Your gift, rooted in faith, can make a significant difference in the lives of countless people. Your support will bring back smiles, health, and faith to children and adults who have suffered for far too long. Donate today and make this Christmas truly meaningful.
At Mercy Ships Canada, we serve those who have lost hope, bringing healing and transformation. Our volunteers, inspired by their faith, work selflessly to perform surgeries that renew not only bodies but also faith and hope. This Christmas, be a part of the miracle by making a donation to Mercy Ships Canada. Your contribution will help renew faith and offer a second chance at life. Together, we can make a significant impact on those who have suffered for too long.
As we approach the holiday season, we are reminded of the immense power of faith and the importance of giving back to those in need. This Christmas, you have the opportunity to be a beacon of hope, healing and transformation for those who need it most.
Your support this Christmas will not only change lives but also reaffirm the spirit of giving and faith. Join us in spreading love, hope, and healing.
Make a donation today, and together, we can transform the lives of people who have lost so much.
Our journey continues, and we’re excited to have you by our side as we embark on new adventures of compassion and change.
The last time Catherine Conteh saw the deeply familiar smile in front of her in Freetown, it was under dramatically different circumstances. Learn more about Aly’s act of kindness!