Scenes from the Ship

Sunset view from the ship

View of the dock space in the Port of Douala from above.

View of bow and part of the dock space in the Port of Douala from above.

View from Deck 8 of the sunset.

A Glimpse into Screening – The Greeting

Screening Team members Harmen, Kayla, Stella, and Albert welcome the patients on the dock that have come for Screening appointments.  

Below is another post from our intranet take over week written by screening nurse, Rachel Lappin.  

Screening has one of the biggest privileges of getting to greet the patients for the first time they come to the ship.  It’s the favorite part of my day, despite my blurry eyes as I wait for my coffee to kick in.  This is sometimes the first contact our potential patients have with Mercy Ships – the moment we begin building relationship with them, even from a simple smile or wave.  It’s often the simple things that bridge the gap between us and them and helps us earn their trust.  No matter how tired I feel, seeing their smiling faces and the glimmer of hope and expectancy in their eyes makes my heart leap!  Hearing them giggle and laugh amongst themselves as you attempt to greet them in their own language is priceless!  …I just wish each of you could experience the joy of this precious moment!

A Glimpse into Screening – Fun Facts

Below is a post that a member of my team wrote to share with the entire organization via our intranet.  It was one of several posts we made for sort of an “Intranet takeover week” that our team did to share more insight into what our department looks like.  


Happy Monday from the Screening team!

We’d like to share some fun facts that you might not know about our department.

Did you know:

  • On a surgeon screening day we have up to 60 patients come for consultation.
  • A patient usually has 4 interactions (appointments) when they come: nurse, physician, surgeon, and nurse again. If you add the numbers, that is up to 240 meetings with our patients throughout the day!
  • Every week we give out appointments for surgery but we also have to say no to patients all throughout the field service.
  • Going over a patient’s history is a complex task that can take up to one hour
  • We are not only focused on the current field service but also planning every day for screening in the next country
  • On a daily basis we interact with nearly twenty work areas on the ship—see if yours is listed!
    • Reception
    • Security
    • Pharmacy
    • Wards
    • Eye/dental teams
    • Supply
    • Galley
    • Communications
    • Hospital chaplaincy
    • Dietician
    • Physicians
    • Outpatients
    • Admissions
    • Radiology
    • Lab
    • Hope Centre
    • OR/OR office
    • Transportation

Therefore if you talk with any of us at the end of a screening day, now you can understand why our heads are in outer space!

Goiter Screening

In early February we had our annual Goiter Screening.  Dozens of patients presented on screening day to be evaluated by the surgeon.  Some of these patients we have been following closely in our goiter clinic since way back in September.  These are patients that had abnormal thyroid levels.  We monitor them on a monthly basis to try and normalize these levels prior to surgery.  It’s always very satisfying to get them in tip top shape by the time the surgeon arrives.  It’s a fun process as well because these are patients that we have a sustained relationship with.  When we finally get to share their surgery date with them it feels like celebrating with a friend.

Pediatric Surgery

Check out this short two minute video of a 5-month old patient we were able to help in Madagascar last year.  Dr. Emil was on board again just a couple of weeks ago and it was so wonderful to have him back.  He operated on another case similar to the one in the video.  This is an exciting place to live and work!

Plastics Scheduling

The interdisciplinary team challenged with the task of scheduling all the plastics patients for 7 weeks of surgery.  They balance so many aspects like length of recovery, acuity, local vs. upcountry (based on the current and projected HOPE center capacity), skills of the ward and OR teams, rehab needs, and more.

Welcoming patients from up north

At the start of the new year we started our second block of plastic surgeries.  During this second block we bring in all the plastics patients that we have screened from our field screenings up north.  The screening lasts two full days and we process around 100 patients for about 7 weeks of surgeries.  They are busy days.

Here are some photos of our team welcoming patients to the ship after their long journey.

New Screening Tent

A couple of weeks ago our team moved tents on the dock and now we are in a slightly larger space that is completely our own!  Ria and the day crew did an incredible job organizing it and making it feel like a welcoming place for our patients.  After we meet patients in the field, the Screening Tent is where we do our secondary assessments and hold our surgeon screenings.

Screening Trip Photos – Benin

Photos by Ryan Cardoza.

On the road just south of Dassa, Benin

On the road just south of Dassa, Benin.

Near Dassa, Benin.

Near Dassa, Benin.

Shooting some hoops during a fuel stop in Bembèrèké, Benin.

Shooting some hoops during a fuel stop in Bembèrèké, Benin.


Gettin' that admin work done.

Gettin’ that admin work done.

My scheduling table in Bembèrèké

My scheduling table in Bembèrèké.

Team brief before our screening in Bembèrèké.

Team brief before our screening in Bembèrèké.

Deciding on the setup for our screening in Parakou.

Deciding on the setup for our screening in Parakou.