Meet our International Crew: Harriet Gall
Australian Harriet Gall could be considered “the hostess with the mostest,” as Harriet’s background unveils a woman with many talents. From primary school teacher to adult instructor, with passions in safety, outdoor skills and survival, this “hostess” can probably handle – or teach – almost anything.
At her usual day job back home in Australia, she’s the Aviation Safety Instructor for a major airline, educating pilots and aircraft crew in everything they need to know about emergency situations, including security, fires, depressurizations, survival, evacuation and more. So how did Harriet end up working in the hospitality department on a hospital ship in West Africa?
“My job back at home offers a three-month service leave after 10 years, so I was looking for something to do. When I saw the 60 Minutes Surgery Ship documentary about Mercy Ships, I thought, ‘That’s what I need to do!’ – and it all just fell together.”
Harriet browsed through the broad range of job descriptions online – medical and non-medical, all with different lengths of service. She decided to do something a bit unrelated to her field of work, yet would still fit her personality well. “I love working with people, and I thought this would be a great job where I’d see a really diverse range of activities as well as people in the community on board the ship. I also wanted insight into all the different departments that make up the ship.” The hostess position required six months of service, so she applied, using the rest of her personal holiday time to make up the difference.
Teaching, one of Harriet’s many talents, still comes in handy as she orients new crew members: “I take pride in trying to make people feel welcome and immediately comfortable being on board the ship. A lot of people come from a long way…they’ve spent months if not years preparing to come on board. It can be a very emotional time, so I want them to fit in and feel comfortable as quickly as possible. If I can facilitate that for them, I think it’s a huge part of my role.”
With the majority of Harriet’s day-to-day focused on the crew, patient interactions still happen in other ways. During routine tours of the ship, she guides new crew through the hospital wards, a place where some of her fondest memories have been made. “During ship tours, we walk the length of ship, down past the hospital wards. More often than not there are young children, all bandaged up with different conditions, smiling and laughing. Most times, you get a big “Bonsoir!!” and a smile and a high five. That’s definitely the highlight of my day.”
What would Harriet say to someone thinking of signing up with Mercy Ships? “Don’t even think – just come – 100%!” She adds, “There are so many people here, serving out of love. Every single person on this ship is beautiful. They find the good in things, and everyone generally goes out of their way to help each other.”
And Harriet’s no different. Thank you Harriet, for sharing your remarkable self with every crew member you meet.
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!