Surprise Visit by FIFA President Sepp Blatter
Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA, the international governing body of association football, paid a remarkable honour to Mercy Ships volunteers and patients when he recently paused from his hectic schedule to pay a personal visit to the Africa Mercy, to witness its life-transforming work with his own eyes. President Blatter was in Conakry, Guinea on the second stop of his four-country African tour.
“I was not only deeply impressed, but also touched by the care Mercy Ships is giving these poor people and how well you are organised. I am touched by the hope and courage given to those you are serving,” President Blatter remarked.
Mercy Ships Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Parker, a devoted twenty-six-year volunteer surgeon, escorted President Blatter through the 78-bed hospital.
Dr. Parker spoke enthusiastically about the impromptu visit of such a leading world figure. “People like the President of FIFA can mobilise the world for good things. President Blatter is a man of great vision. I know that he has a heart for the children of our world, and he uses sports to increase the opportunities they have. So, anytime we can collaborate with people who have a desire to see the children lifted up, I think it is great.”
Africa Mercy Managing Director, Donovan Palmer, noted that, “Football is at the heart of many in Africa. So, to have the President of FIFA stop in and give his best wishes to crew and to see patients is an incredible blessing. It has been an extraordinary surprise visit.”
Following the visit, President Blatter’s twitter account posted a photo and stated:
Just visited @MercyShips in Conakry. Impressed by this initiative which provides surgery to the most needy in Africa. http://tinyurl.com/bkys6v6