Volunteer ship trip to help the sick
KERRY-ANNE Evans is usually helping out school children but in a few months time, she will be swapping roles to provide assistance to seriously sick people in Africa instead.
The Bundaberg Christian College administration officer will travel to Madagascar in January to be stationed on Mercy Ships' African Mercy for six months as a volunteer receptionist.
Mercy Ships volunteers use hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world.
"Africa Mercy has eight decks, 474 crew, six operating theatres and a 78-bed hospital," Ms Evans said.
"All of the crew are volunteers - self funded or funded by sponsors or fundraising."
Ms Evans said she first found out about Mercy Ships from a friend and decided to become involved.
"One of the girls at church is a registered nurse who went about five years ago. That and seeing it on TV has just prompted my mind about it," she said.
"I don't have any expectations about what to get out besides the fact that I am going to do something for other people."
Ms Evans said volunteers could choose to go for as little or as long as they wanted but her particular role required her to be on board for six months.
She said she was eager to be part of the organisation and to help people in need.
"Where we are going, the people are born into poverty and have no hope. In Africa, if you have a disfigurement or a medical illness that causes tumours or some sort of disability, you are seen as an outcast and that you are cursed. Your family disregard you and you are reduced to begging or starving," she said.
"All of those people who haven't got any hope rely on these types of organisations. Mercy Ships is fully equipped with everything they need."
"I feel honoured just being part of being able to help so many people."
Ms Evans said she has undergone a lot of preparation for her upcoming trip.
"There is a huge amount of vaccinations to get and a lot of money to get together so I can support myself while I'm away," she said.
"Overall, I will need about $17,500. I have sponsors in the U.S who are helping out and I have also been putting on fundraisers."
Ms Evans will start her six-month stint with Mercy Ships on January 3 and finish on July 3, 2016.
"It is a real faith thing, I think. I'm trying not to go with any pre-conceived ideas other than that there is going to be a lot of people there that need a lot of help," she said.
If you would like to support Ms Evans, phone 0410 916 822 and log on to http://www.mercyships.org to find out more.