KRB Update 2148 Adopt-A-Patient

December 16, 2009
Not many of us live in a hospital, though for us on the Africa Mercy we do. I live on Deck 4 and the hospital is on Deck 3 – one set of stairs away. One of the great opportunities we have on board is to befriend some of the thousands of patients who are in the hospital. Our Adopt-A-Patient Coordinator places slips with the Name, Age, Date of Arrival, Date of Surgery and Estimated Time to be in Recovery for arriving patients on IV tube poles in Town Square. Men can choose men and children and women can choose women and children. Some of the fifty children living on board spend time with one of their parents with a child in the hospital. This opportunity is available to everyone living and serving on board.

Sometimes I meet patients at screening at one of the venues where the hospital crew do the evaluation for potential patients. If they receive an appointment card, I will share with them that I will visit them once they are on board in the hospital.

In Benin, I have the challenge of the main language being French and I can only speak short phrases in French and only three words in the local language of Fon. The hospital had local Benin day volunteers who served as translators for the nurses and health care professionals. They were available to assist with translation if not doing other duties. Recently I had four patients for many weeks I have been visiting who can speak some limited English and one of them knew more than the others and helped to translate.

Sometimes we spend time in the hospital ward talking, playing games, visiting, praying and just checking on how they are doing. Other times, we walked up to Deck 7 where we sat on the outside deck for some fresh air (there are no windows/portholes in the hospital), feel the warmth of the sun and watch the ships and boats coming in and out. There are also some ride-on-toys that the children play on going back and forth. Please see the photos taken while outside (we are not permitted to take photos in the hospital ward).

Up on Deck 7 one afternoon with patients from Ward B of the HospitalSome of my closest relationships in country have been with our patients who I have stayed in contact with even after they have been released from the ship and have returned home. Just prior to leaving the nation of Benin, I called those patients who I have their telephone numbers to talk with them briefly and to say ‘goodbye’ for now. If the Lord permits, I will return next year from Togo to Benin for a visit and I will make contact with them again and check on how they are doing physically and spiritually. This is my final report related to the Benin ’09 Field Service. Thank you for sharing in this field service through your prayers, encouragement and financial support.
Serving Together, Keith
Email: – using this email account for personal correspondence Mail: Keith R. Brinkman, Mercy Ships, P.O. Box 2020, Lindale, TX 75771 USA

Man Overboard Drill 15Dec09

As part of our ongoing training and safety, tonight we had a Man Overboard Drill. I was with friends on Deck 8 watching the sunset. It was a simulation for the various teams to review what they would do. My neighbor and friend David is in this photo looking into the water to see if he can see anyone – though it was only a drill.