Friday, 24 February 2006

setting off

Well hello! So here begins the adventure... welcome to the very first entry on! It's been a champion couple of weeks here in New'astle! Well kind of... I've been going through my usual rollercoaster of emotions - happy to be doing what I'm doing and trying to convince myself I never liked you lot at the same time! But it's not true, so I do miss you!

There's been lots of good stuff too. It's been great to see the ship which has gone through a massive conversion - from a Danish rail ferry to a 'Hospital Ship'... they've made a whole new deck with more cabins to house the 480 crew, added in new staircases here and there, fitted a CT scanner and a whole 80 bedded ward, lab, theatres etc., fitted my deluxe single cabin complete with my own jacuzzi (of course I'm serious) and loads more.

It really is amazing. Hundreds of people have had their patience tested over the last 7 years (it started out as a 2 year project)... but whether they make it to Ghana for 31st May - well, I won't be holding my breath. There's lots of work still to do. Take a look at the photos - it'll look even more impressive soon! If she's not completed on time then we will be kept busy helping the Anastasis. The Anastasis will also be coming to Ghana after her final outreach, currently docked in Liberia. Much of the technical equipment and other resources will be moved off board to equip the Africa Mercy.

I, together with the other 4 members of the Advance Team, head out to Ghana on 1st March to get things ready before the Africa Mercy arrives. My responsibilities will mainly involve finding a place to hold the medical screening of patients - large enough to cope with the thousands of patients that we expect, travelling around the country to advertise what kinds of surgeries are performed and where the screening will take place, liaising with local media, churches etc., finding translators and local 'day workers' who will work on the ship - these are both crucial to us getting any work done at all, finding a place to set up the dental clinic, arranging for the follow up of some of the surgical patients, meeting with the Minister of Health, Port officials, general stuff like that... easy really!?? At the top of my agenda will also be researching the local hotel pools, restaurants and tourist attractions for the crew to enjoy! Not bad eh?!

What to pray for? biggest fear... being lonely, biggest hope... seeing hundreds of lives transformed both physically and spiritually, biggest personal dream... that I'll stop interfering and let God get on with it more, what I'll miss the most?... Paddy and Libby's cuddles... better stop now... thank you for all your support my lovelies!

Take a look at the 'How to contact me' bit as there's all sorts of options including NEW! Instant messaging options and even Skype if that means anything to you (I'm hoping it'll mean something to me soon!).

Anyway, really hope you're all well, keep in touch! I'll be thinking of you very very often...

Cheerio for now, Kirstie Wirstie Woo xx