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Mercy Ships

'Mercy Ships' by Alison Briggs.
Alison was clearly very passionate about this organisation, Mercy Ships. She was a very good speaker and with the aid of at times, quite graphic photographs, she explained the difficulties that people across the world suffer through lack of very basic medical care, fresh water and decent living conditions. Medical conditions such as deformed limbs, cataracts and complications after childbirth are addressed and treated by Mercy Ships.
Founded by Don and Deyon Stephens in 1978, they recognised a desperate need for such deprived communities and purchased a ship called Victoria. Over the next four years, they transformed her into a hospital ship with three operating theatres and a forty bed ward. With a 350 strong crew of volunteers from all over the world, they re-christened the ship Anastasis and provided totally free medical care to thousands of people in ports around East Africa and beyond.
Such is their success, they have continued to provided health care to millions of people. Their fleet has visited more than 451 ports, their work changing millions of lives regardless of race or creed. They are a faith based organisation, totally reliant on donations and sponsorship. Their volunteer nurses, doctors, surgeons, crew and security staff work free of charge and even pay for their own food and lodgings on board ship. To their credit, it is an extraordinary achievement.
They say on their website, "As a floating hospital, we can sail directly to some of the world's poorest people to deliver both life saving and life changing medical care and provide safe, state-of-the-art facilities in which to treat them. Our supporters are a vital part of the team, paying for essential medical supplies and ship repairs.  Together, we have helped transform the lives of more than 2.54 million people in the poorest countries of the world".
Alison had us totally gripped by her tales of hardship and the organisation's achievements. When asked whether she had ever considered volunteering herself, she informed us that she spends about a month each year as a 'general dog's body' doing what she can on board ship and that after her first year, she was 'totally hooked'.
Our thanks go to Alison Briggs, your talk was at times shocking but also inspirational (for further information, please visit 'Mercy Ships UK' website).
The Glenfield WI meets on the third Tuesday of the month in St. Peter's Church Hall @ 7.30 and visitors are assured of a very warm welcome for a nominal fee of £3.00. Please check out our Website (just search 'Glenfield WI' on your computer) to find out more about us and what we do.
April's Meeting - 'Wily, Wicked Wallis Simpson' by Julie Ede.
Alison Bowers

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