The Housekeeping Team
Submitted by Mercyships on Mon, 12/12/2011 - 15:39.
Meet the team responsible for maintaining a clean and healthy environment throughout the six decks, 26 public toilets, 37 offices . . . and every publicly-used floor, window, carpet and railing on the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world.
“It’s not easy,” says Maree Innes, a crewmember from Scotland. “But it’s very satisfying. You feel you’re making a difference, even though you’re not working directly with patients.”
The Housekeeping Team on the Mercy Ship floating hospital, the Africa Mercy, works tirelessly to keep the ship not only clean, but healthy – because if the crew isn’t healthy, the patients won’t get the life-changing surgeries they need.
“I never appreciated housekeeping before I started this job,” says Maree. “I used to walk on freshly-mopped floors without thinking about it, and I feel so bad because now I know how hard they work!”
Every crewmember on the Housekeeping Team is partnered with a local day-worker, and the two remain a team as long as they are both serving. “I have so much respect for the West Africans on my team,” says Crew Services Manager Roseann Farinacci. “They have all lived through a civil war, and the testimonies they share are heartbreaking, yet they are so faithful, so hard-working – they still have such hope that things are going to get better.”
Nancy Kainesie, a day-worker who has been with the Africa Mercy throughout the 2011 Sierra Leone Field Service, is Maree’s partner. “At first it was difficult, but we have a lot of fun, a lot of joy,” says Nancy. “When you mop the floor, you dance and sing and talk with your partner. You interact with them; you learn more about their country. It’s very nice.”
Because of the close friendships that develop over the time spent working together, crew turnover can be difficult for both crewmembers and day-workers. “They become very involved in each others’ lives, and both sides are totally blessed by that experience,” says Roseann. “You can see it when the crew members are leaving – the emotions between the two. It can be very hard for them to say goodbye.”
Despite the challenges, the Housekeeping Team always approaches the task with a positive attitude and dedication. “They do an awesome job,” says Roseann. “They have a lot of joy, and even though the work itself isn’t so gratifying, they know that they are part of a bigger picture.”
“Everyone who does this job does it in God’s glory,” says Maree. “Remembering that makes us work that little bit harder.”