Thursday, July 8, 2010

Volunteers Arrive to Carry Mission to Indonesia

The second rotation of the Pacific Partnership 2010 began with weary but excited Project HOPE volunteers arriving in waves at Singapore’s airport. Project HOPE staffer Matt Peterson ferried the arrivals – most of whom had been traveling for 24 hours, to a nearby hotel where everyone fell in for a brief sleep. But sleeping in was precluded by a required 0800 arrival time to the USNS Mercy hospital ship, at port in Singapore’s Sembawang Harbor.

Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists wrangled their luggage – packed to sustain their five week trip through three Indonesian islands – up many, many ramps to an area aptly named Casualty Receiving or CASREC. Once there, some volunteers experienced the “hurry up and wait,” version of Navy time, and others were pleased to easily paddle through the sea of paperwork.

While being given initial tours of the ship, volunteers learned that working on the Mercy will be better than the most strenuous Stairmaster workout. Following the Titanic disaster, it was mandated that ships be designed to have vertical water tight sections, so that if one section flooded, the others would remain sealed. Great for safety, but the result is that only one deck of the ship runs stem to stern. So to go from Deck five of the ship (the lowest level) to the floor-through corridor involves five flights of stairs. None of the volunteers are complaining. In fact, everyone is excited about how fit they will be when they return home after this Singapore to Darwin, Australia adventure.

Thanks for reading - Kathryn Allen, Project HOPE PAO


  1. Kathryn,
    Enjoyed reading your first blog post for Project Hope! (I read it only 30 minutes after it was posted!) The adventure begins for you and the new group of volunteers. I look forward to reading more about all the great work that will be done over the coming weeks.
    All the best to you and your fellow Project Hope volunteers! Alison

  2. Having been on the Mercy twice with PH I well
    remember the stairs and also walking the ramps for exercise. I is a great hospital and I envy the good works you will all do. My best, Diana Hardin, RN - Operating Room Nurse

  3. Welcome to all the new volunteers and good luck on the USS Stairmaster!