Tuesday 17 July 2018: Sally Conner has returned home to Montrose and her job as a receptionist at Mercy Place Aged Care after spending a month in Central Africa volunteering on board the world’s largest civilian hospital ship.
She joined the Africa Mercy, operated by the international medical charity Mercy Ships, to serve as a dining room assistant in late May and sailed with the ship from its field location of Cameroon to its current maintenance location in the Canary Islands.
“I wanted to help in any way I could and to really be among the African people and see first-hand what Mercy Ships is doing for them.”
Ms Conner served an important role on board, ensuring nutritious meals were served to the ship’s volunteer crew and maintaining a clean environment in the dining room.
“Every position on board is important, so I highly value the position I held.”
The Africa Mercy arrived in the port city of Douala, Cameroon, in August 2017 and provided almost 3,000 life-changing surgeries on board, treated over 20,000 people at a land-based dental clinic and provided health care training to local medical professionals during 10 months in port.
“I didn’t realise the extent of how far Mercy Ships’ ‘tentacles of help’ spread. It has amazed me that there is so much more than just the medical side to what Mercy Ships does.”
Ms Conner is no stranger to selflessly volunteering her time, having previously worked in Borneo helping endangered orangutans and Thailand where she assisted in building a classroom for a local primary school. She is also a volunteer firefighter with Montrose CFA.
“I just love to volunteer to a worthwhile cause.”
“A lot of people had not heard of the Mercy Ship, so it was a good chance to spread the word.”
“I was amazed at the large number of long term Mercy Ships volunteers with five, 10, 15, 20 and even longer years of service. That is mind blowing, that people would be prepared to work on board for such extended periods of time.”
Now home, Ms Conner plans to encourage others to support Mercy Ships and even volunteer themselves.
About Mercy Ships
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, with more than 2.56 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. Mercy Ships Australia, one of 16 international support offices, is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. For more information, visit www.mercyships.org.au
For further information, please contact:
National Office Manager
Mercy Ships Australia
(07) 5437 2992
High resolution photos are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships.