Ellon woman Sandra Campbell is preparing for a five-week trip to the West African nation of Senegal where she will be volunteering as a nurse.
The 69-year-old is travelling to the Africa Mercy, the world’s largest charity-run hospital ship, which provides healthcare and training to developing countries.
Sandra was inspired to volunteer by a visit to the previous ship, the Anastasis, and learning about the amazing work they did to bringing hope and healing to thousands of people who do not have access to affordable health care.
“The surgical care given to patients is truly life transforming for these patients and their families and it is thrilling to be able to be part of it and to see the smiles on their faces when they leave the ship to go home to a better future,” she said.
The floating hospital is staffed almost entirely by volunteers from over 40 different nations who work in a variety of roles to help change the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.
Mercy Ships has touched more than 2.7 million lives since 1978.
“We are so grateful for the volunteers who travel to the Africa Mercy to volunteer their time and skills. Only 50% of the roles on the ship are medical and every role is filled by a volunteer,” said Hannah Mulvihill, Crew Support Co-ordinator for Mercy Ships.
“From the cleaners to the nurses, the receptionists to the electricians; we couldn’t offer this vital service without them.”
As for Sandra, she is preparing for cabin life, stating: “I have volunteered with Mercy Ships since 2010 and spend several weeks on the ship each year. I always look forward to my times onboard and meeting with shipmates I have worked with before and new ones from all over the world.
“It is a great atmosphere to work in as each of us comes with the same desire to serve and make a difference,” she added.