After three years as national director for Mercy Ships, Tim Maloney can finally say he’s been aboard Africa Mercy.
The Sidney man is Canadian director of Mercy Ships and was one of nine people to visit the charity’s medical vessel last month, during a weeklong ‘vision trip’ to Sierra Leone.
It was the first time a Canadian team has taken such a trip.
“(The purpose of the trip was) to engage participants in all aspects of life onboard and around the ship, and to witness the mission of Mercy Ships — transforming the lives of the world’s forgotten poor, one by one,” Maloney said.
The Africa Mercy, formerly a Dutch rail ferry, is the largest charity hospital ship in the world, utilized by Mercy Ships in their mission to provide free surgeries and medical care to thousands of the world’s most impoverished people along the coast of West Africa.
The first day of touring left the group feeling at home as they joined the crew, made up of around 450 volunteers, many of them Canadian, to partake in a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.
“On the second day, we got right into the heart of our work with a visit to the (operating room) to see firsthand the life-transforming surgeries performed by our volunteer medical teams,” Maloney said.
His wife, Karen Morgan, was also part of the team as were John McLeod, Dr. Darryl Williams, Caroline Yung, Scott Gillies, Dr. Habiba Chakir, Jerry Dewit and Sidney’s John Currie.
They also visited a site of off-ship projects.
Over the following days, they shared in the impactful experiences of visiting a women’s hospital established by Mercy Ships many years ago, as well as the HOPE centre, where pre-and post-op patients live with their families until they are well enough to return home. The group saw the dental clinic, Food for Life agricultural project and some even attended a local Rotary meeting.
The impact of their experience was immense, Maloney said.
“The participants agree that there are an infinite number of adverbs and adjectives they could use to describe their experience, but the most prevalent was ‘hope,’ that shone through all despair,” he said.
“Hope in the eyes and faces of those being served, hope expressed in the actions of the crew and hope in a country looking for a better life for its people. The team feels blessed that they were present to witness love in action.”
To learn more about Mercy Ships visit www.mercyships.ca.