Monday, April 27, 2009

The Daily Commute and Another Donation

Project HOPE Volunteers continue work in the Dominican Republic

Hello everyone!

I’m on board Comfort all day today (Monday), catching up on the blog after a whirlwind of events the last few days.

I have to say it’s great tagging around with the Commodore. He’s a great guy, and getting to and from sites with him is awesome – 3 helo rides the last 3 days. I think Emily’s flown more – nope, she just told me we’re tied. She’s not the only one who has fun commuting.

Here’s Susan mustering (gathering for inspection, review, or roll call and then waiting for transport) in CASREC with the Seabees before going up to the boat deck.

BTW, the Seabees have the longest days of anyone going ashore – they go out on the first boat in the morning and come back on the last one of the day. When they get back to the ship they usually go straight from to the mess deck for chow, just in time for the 1900 confirmation brief, where the rest of us are already showered and fed – and eating ice cream, which is available every night, courtesy of the Commodore.

Anyway, back to our daily commutes. The boat-to-boat transfers, from lifeboat #6 to the tender boat can be like a theme park ride when the swells are large. We’re in good hands with the mariners from the MSC (Maritime Support Command formerly known as the Merchant Marine), who make sure we don’t fall in. There are a total of 62 mariners aboard, although we rarely see most of them because they’re working in the engine rooms or below decks somewhere. That reminds me to try to get a tour down there. It’s interesting talking to them – my great-grandfather was in the Russian merchant marine at the turn of the 20th century – and I know we civilians entertain them. They’re a bunch of salty sea dogs, especially Boatswain Butch, who operates the “Last Chance Café” in the shade of the lifeboat #4. IMAGE 559. But seriously, they all do a great job keeping us safe.

On Friday we conducted some serious business on shore – the turnover of the donated products. Project HOPE delivered $240,000 worth of medicine to Santo Domingo for use and distribution via HOPE's local country director, Teresa Navarez (in blue HOPE shirt). (Learn more about Project HOPE programs in the Dominican Republic)

Check back for for info on our eventful Saturday and Sunday, when we had a special visit from Project HOPE’s CEO Dr. John Howe, who was joined by business and professional leaders from the U.S. who wanted to see how the mission is conducted on the front lines.


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