Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Note from a Project HOPE Volunteer on the USNS Mercy

Below is an email I received from a Project HOPE volunteer Faye Pyles. Here she gives a little insight into life aboard the USNS Mercy. -Marisol

Well it is our Monday. We are underway to Micronesia, tomorrow we cross the equator. We will be there in two more days, or so. So far the seas have not been bad, a little rolling but not significant. During the night it kicked up a little but not enough to make anyone ill, or at least not in my room. So, so far so good.

The mission to PNG finished with a little bang. We were quite busy the last day with small areas that were very needy. I went on a mission 45 minutes inland and got to see some of the countryside. It was more what I expected, palm trees, forest, mountains and small shacks and huts. We ended up on the coast with a beautiful beach.

Life on the Mercy is fine; I share a stateroom with four other PH staff and the Morale Welfare and Recreation coordinator. The staff is for the most part also good. Lots of reservist who are nice to work with, the partner nations (Aussies, New Zealand, India, Korea, Canada, Chile) are all interesting to talk with about their specialties and experiences.

Not much else, we are now finding things to do to occupy our time, it was trivial pursuit last night, and Pictionary is on for tonight. There are movies on the hanger deck tomorrow. The Mercy now travels with a helicopter detachment of two helos and crew. I am told some of us will be traveling by helo to the medical areas that we will visit in Micronesia, should be interesting.Well time to go to a steel beach cookout. The officers are cooking on the flight deck and there will be basketball and other games on the deck, the band was setting up earlier, should be a nice diversion.

Faye Pyles is a Project HOPE volunteer on the USNS Mercy currently on a humanitarian mission in Southeast Asia. This is Pyles second volunteer mission with Project HOPE. She previously participated in Africa Partnership Station in Ghana and Liberia. Faye is retired U.S. Navy Captain and a pediatric nurse practitioner from Norfolk, VA.

Faye sees one of her little patients at
JFK Hospital in Liberia in March

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