After a tricky three years, the Mercy Ships vessel, Global Mercy, recently docked at Rotterdam in Holland for a two-week promotional stop before setting out for its first stop in Africa.
Rotary Great Britain and Ireland Past President, Debbie Hodge, accompanied by a team of Rotarians, visited the vessel.
During her presidency between 2018 and 2019, Debbie set up and led the Rotary project for Mercy Ships as clubs and districts raised over $1 million to assist in the fitting of critical medical equipment.
Mercy Ships provides ships which are fully equipped with operating theatres and medical rooms, staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses from around the world providing medical help to those in third world countries.
The first ship was built in 1978. Since then, there has always been at least one ship in service.
However, all the past ships have now been retired from their duties and the current ship, the ‘Africa Mercy’ was left with no future proxy.
Both ships are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment enabling life-changing medical procedures to be completed in a safe and sterile environment.
The British and Irish Rotarians received a one-hour tour of the ship while it was docked in the Dutch port when they got to see the new CT scanner which was purchased with the Rotary Global Grant.
Debbie Hodge said: “We visited the operating theatres, wards, staff rooms and finally the actual bridge.
“The captain showed us how the vessel is steered using its propulsion pods. These rotate through 360 degrees, making a rudder redundant!”
After their tour, the group of Rotarians visited the reception room where they were joined by Mercy Ships founder, Don Stevens. Don gave a speech explaining his gratitude to Rotary for their support.
He said: “With the help of Rotary, you can achieve anything.”
Debbie finished the tour with thanks to everyone who supported the project.
She said: “Our sincere thanks must go to the many clubs and districts throughout the world who donated and helped us reach our target – and more.
“It’s truly wonderful when you see a plan finally come together.”