Meeting Hawa

by Pierre, Geneva, Switzerland
Long-term Volunteer

Adventure in Africa

When I first saw the ship, I had a very deep inside feeling. I boarded the Anastasis in Cape Town, South Africa on a Sunday, at the end of her public relations tour. Three days later, the Mercy Ship began a 10-day sail to return to Liberia, West Africa.

My job onboard was in the Renovations department, helping to keep the aging former cruise ship functional for the more than 300 volunteers living onboard.

While we sailed and docked in Liberia, I spent hours chipping and painting to help renovate a section of cabins on C-deck that will house 16 nurses at a time. It was an amazing three weeks for me - full of emotions and many wonderful new friends. It felt like being at home.

A Chance Encounter

Hawa and her father, waiting to hear if Mercy Ships surgeons can operate her.

The day before I left, they held the first medical screening in Liberia. As one of the non-medical crew, I signed up as a volunteer to help. The night before the screening, they announced that due to election demonstrations, not all of the volunteers would be able to go. Disappointed, I prepared to spend my Saturday onboard instead.

That afternoon I happened to be near the ship’s gangway when they announced there was a Land Rover going back to the screening site and they had space for just one volunteer. So I went.

When I