Goodalls Ahoy 03: Arrival On-Board Nov ‘18
We have now arrived on-board the Africa Mercy hospital ship in Guinea!
Our training at the Mercy Ships HQ came to an end in the last week of October and during our time in Texas we made some lovely friends and everyone was incredibly kind and friendly. In the Lone Star State we learnt a lot, attended a cowboy church and sampled a number of local delicacies (ham biscuits, chicken-on-a-stick...).
Noah also celebrated his 5th birthday and had an awesome party, including a visit from his hero Spiderman!
Judah has taken every opportunity to get behind the wheel of many different variants of vehicles and I think a career working with machinery may beckon…
After successfully graduating from the on-boarding course (it was touch and go whether Barney would pass…) we then began the 30+ hour journey from Dallas to Guinea. The boys did very well and 8,000 miles later we arrived in Africa!
Life on-board a floating hospital is very different to anything we’ve ever experienced before. Space is at a premium, health and safety takes on a very different level of importance and there are a lot of people (everywhere!).
Judah has even been playing his part to keep everyone safe…
We’re slowly transitioning to life here and are finding our sea legs. We have a lovely cabin and Noah is thrilled that our window faces the bauxite loading dock, so he gets to see a LOT of different ships coming and going.
The ship has a small playground on the top deck which is nice for the kids to play on and for watching the sunsets (while watching said kids!)
The Africa Mercy has been moored in the port city of Conakry since the 11th August. Over 9,500 patients have been screened, and by the end of October, 496 surgeries had been performed. The majority of these procedures were Maxillofacial and Ophthalmic. Additionally, almost 9,000 dental procedures have been performed.
We visited the HOPE centre in town, a site that Mercy Ships has set-up for out-patient recovery. Liz went with the boys to accompany Noah on a school trip, and the three of them enjoyed joining in with some loud celebrations and of course, dancing! Barney has now passed his Guinea driving test, so is behind the wheel of a big vehicle, in a place where you only give way to something bigger than yourself (not much different to London then!)
Barney has taken over from his fantastic predecessor, Kevin Cook, who gave him a great handover. He is having to get used to dealing with quite a few more zeros that before, with 9,000 Guinea Francs = 1 USD! Liz is enjoying meeting different people on board, and interestingly ran into a colleague that she used to work with in Wexham Park Hospital, Slough. Small world! She is all set to become the crew gynaecologist, and working with the teams to see where she can serve…So watch this space!
Thank-you to everyone that has supported us financially and through encouraging messages. We genuinely couldn’t be here without you guys, and your thoughts and prayers mean a huge amount to us. Please continue to pray for us as we find our place here, and especially as we miss family and friends at home over the holiday season!
Lots of Love,
Barney, Liz, Noah and Judah
If you would like to support us financially the easiest way is by donating through the Mercy Ships UK website and select the ‘This donation is to support a crew member’ option at the bottom of the page. Please include our surname and designation code ‘Goodall 5013’