After I posted the photo of Donovan giving a tour, I found on Facebook a friend who was in my group posted a couple photos – so I copied them here for you all to see and enjoy. I love how the hospital staff set up the room with a stuffed animal on the table with the mask and the bright lights – they did a great job.
KRB Update #2162 January 23, 2011
Keith R. Brinkman
Final Days in South Africa
Greetings from South Africa for probably for the last time as our season here is finishing. I have been living in this nation since starting with the Advance Team in May and then with the ship’s arrival on September 1st. The time is approaching to return to West Africa with our new improved tool, the ship – new generators, new air conditioning units and other systems that will last the life of the ship (maybe 20-25 more years). Please join us in prayer that everything will past the tests and inspections. They are due to test #3 generator tomorrow.
Related to our projects here, the eye training, mental health training and dental, they all have come to an end. We hosted some of our partners last week at our Thank You Event along with partners from the government and the shipyard phase. A time to thank them for their partnership and assistance offered to us during this season in South Africa.
Eye Project: Our Eye Team provided training and mentoring in the Eastern Cape to surgeons, medical officers, registrars, surgical nurses and community eye care workers. They also provide hundreds of cataract surgeries using the same technique that is used on board the ship while in West Africa.
Mental Health: Our Mental Health Programs Administrator provided training in mental health issues for five groups of church leaders at venue sites in Pietermaritzburg, Pongola, Eshowe, Mbazana and Newcastle. This was the project I was most involved with from my assignment on the Advance Team to find potential partners to offering logistics assistance during the six weeks of training. Along with the writer and photographer, I visited two of the sites while the training was offered. Since the training, I have heard from the directors of the Christian Councils on the impact of the training.
Dental: Instead of setting up in one location for the entire 12-week field service, the Dental Team at the request of the Department of Health in Pietermaritzburg went to many of their hospitals and clinics. Many patients received treatments plus some patients received dental prophylaxis. With a great emphasis on training, the Dental Team visited local schools and provided students with basic oral health training and their teachers received instruction on teaching oral health.
Following the Thank You Event at the nearby Seafarer’s Centre, we did offer to take our guests on a tour of the Africa Mercy while still in the shipyard. I was the tour guide for group #4 and we really enjoyed our time. In this photo you see Donovan Palmer, our Managing Director, taking his group into one of our operating rooms which was set up by the Hospital department – to give our guests an idea of what it looks like.
When the Advance Team arrived in May to help prepare for this season in South Africa, they started to attend Northside Church located near to the rented house for the Advance Team. I joined the team a bit later and most Sundays we would worship with them. Even though we are not in that house anymore, many of us still continue to attend services with them. For the Thank you Event, the pastor’s wife Di and Auntie Val came to represent Northside, our dear friends.
As we are nearing the end of our time here in South Africa, last Monday we conducted our Thank You Event. We invited our partners and friends who have helped to make the field service here a success and for the shipyard phase. Some of our contacts with dental and with mental health training were able to attend.
With the move to Appelsbosch during the shipyard phase, we have set up our own business center. My workstation is upstairs above the library and it is shared with the Marketing department, Staff Development and Off Ship Projects. In this photo, I am conducting some training with Robin in her new role as Hospital Projects Manager.
This has been my home at the rented Appelsbosch College since September 2nd – in block A – room # A115. Most of all the non-technical crew members moved to Appelsbosch while the Africa Mercy has been in drydock/shipyard in Durban. Though we hope to be able to move home this coming weekend if the generators testing goes well.