Thursday, March 31, 2011

End of March - The Madness Continues - Newsletter

Click HERE or on the image below to read my facinating, thought provoking, cutting edge Newsletter! It WILL change your life! Quick! Do it Now! Read it, read it! Come on, I dare you, read it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Upside Down - Wrongside Up!

Okay, time for a bot of a random posting...

Have you even scratched a dog's belly, noticed it's cute scrunched up face, taken a photo of it's face and when you looked at the photo, realized it is the wrong side up?

Well, lucky for you there is a webside you can post your proud photos, and boy, aren't you in for a treat!

Welcome to the bizarre world of

Here are a few prime examples...

Charlie The Basset Hound Mixed Breed

Brutus The English Bulldog

Black Jack The Labrador Retriever Mixed Breed

Lily The Boxer

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Go For Launch!

Space shuttle Discovery gets prepped for flight—in just under four minutes.

I will miss the space shuttle programme! Good job NASA. I recommend that you maximise your screen by clicking on the four arrows. Minimize after by clicking Esc on your keyboard.

If you cannot see the picture/video below, you can see it HERE!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


One of the fruits of my labors is to come up with new monthly episodes of Connections. With the help of Scott, we come up with these little updates about what is happening within the world of Mercy Ships. Enjoy!

Celebrate with us as just days ago, the Africa Mercy, reached Freetown, Sierra Leone to begin its ten month field service to this Western African nation. This month's update concludes with an explanation from Dr. Gary Parker on making hope tangible for the discouraged. We are excited to share these very special moments with you in this month's edition of Connections.

If you do not see the photo below, click HERE to view the video.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mercy Ships Chef Feeds Souls

Mercy Ships operates the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship. Of the crew of 450 volunteers, on average, 60% are women. Mercy Ships salutes its talented female crew on International Women’s Day.

Garden Valley, TX, March 6, 2011 – Mercy Ships, a global charity serving the forgotten poor, is privileged to have highly skilled women volunteering onboard its hospital ship in various positions – nurses, surgeons, technicians, writers and other vital roles. This year on International Women’s Day, Mercy Ships takes the opportunity to acknowledge a volunteer whose job with Mercy Ships is absolutely essential, but is not always properly recognized. Los Angeles gourmet chef-turned-volunteer Rachel Bethke ensures that the crew of the Africa Mercy never goes hungry.

For the past nine months, the twenty-three-year-old has served with Mercy Ships onboard its hospital ship in West Africa. Her days are spent planning, prepping and cooking meals for almost 500 people.

“It’s hard work,” Bethke says. “It demands long hours. I never knew the steps involved in planning to feed this many people. It’s a pretty impressive operation.” Along with Head Chef Jesse Mitchell, Bethke directs sous chefs and manages the timing of cooking so the food is hot and ready to be served when masses of hungry nurses, doctors, engineers, deck hands and support staff line up in the dining hall.

Growing up, however, Bethke did not have aspirations of becoming a chef. “In fact,” the Minnesota native muses, “I always wanted to be a writer! But God had other plans.” After a short stint in journalism school, Bethke enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, California.

“I love the way cooking and food bring people together world-wide, regardless of culture or background.” After graduation, Rachel worked at the upscale restaurant, Reservoir, in Los Angeles, where her culinary skills were put to the test. The experience was amazing, but the high-stress, high-heat environment left Rachel drained at the end of the day. Cooking was her passion, but working in a kitchen in L.A. was not satisfying her soul.

Then Rachel’s brother told her about Mercy Ships, and the concept of a floating hospital immediately piqued her interest. She checked the website and saw a position open for a cook. Instantly, she decided to apply.

Today, Bethke has completed nine months of service with Mercy Ships. After a brief trip visiting family and friends in the U.S., she will meet up with the ship in Sierra Leone for twelve more months of service.

“Working in the Galley onboard is very different from a restaurant environment in the states. My team is from all over the world,” Bethke says. “There are cultural boundaries – including language challenges – that are hard to navigate.” But at the end of the day, her soul is filled with joy because she is doing her part to benefit a cause greater than herself.

Mercy Ships is a global leader in using hospital ships to deliver free world-class health care and community development services to the world's forgotten poor. The organization brings hope and healing by mobilizing people and resources worldwide, and serves people without regard for race, gender, or religion. In 2010, Mercy Ships impacted over 450,000 lives in Africa.

Bethke believes that the mission of Mercy Ships aligns with her personal values. It’s a perfect fit for the organization and for the young chef.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Coolest Grandpa ever!

Okay! I want a grandpa like this! RESPECT!

If you don't see the video below, you can watch it HERE!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sierra Leone Welcome Mercy Ships into Port of Freetown

The Africa Mercy sails up the river into the port of Freetown.
This week marks the fifth time in 18 years that Freetown has welcomed a Mercy Ship; this time it is the Africa Mercy – the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship. For the next ten months, Mercy Ships is offering its state-of-the-art hospital ship – with six operating theaters, lab, pharmacy, 78 beds, and an outpatient clinic – to partner alongside the Sierra Leonean government. The ship will provide free health care to the people of Sierra Leone and training for health care workers until November 2011.

In response to an invitation from the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, Mercy Ships program strategy has been carefully aligned with the country’s current five-year health care plan.

Life-changing surgeries such as tumor removal, cleft lip and palate correction, cataract removal, orthopedics and plastics will be offered onboard the ship for individuals that qualify with these conditions. Potential patients have been encouraged to attend specific screening days to receive appointments for their specific medical needs. Advance teams have already conducted screenings in six locations upcountry, seeing more than 5,000 patients prior to the ship’s arrival.

Sierra Leone has made a significant effort to address health care concerns in their country, but still faces challenges. Last year, the nation implemented a free health care policy for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five. This initiative is very positive, but the nation still ranks at the bottom of the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index (at 158 out of 169). The infant mortality rate in Sierra Leone is 123 per 1,000 births. And with only one dentist for every one million people in Sierra Leone, as compared to 6,000 dentists per million people in the U.S., Mercy Ships investment in the health sector is welcome.

The Mercy Ships Eye Team will partner with the Kissy Eye Clinic to screen and schedule qualified individuals for surgeries. Cataract surgeries are performed in a simple 15-minute procedure, restoring sight for hundreds of vision-impaired individuals. Last year, the Mercy Ships Eye Team performed 2,512 eye surgeries on 2,331 patients. In 2009, Mercy Ships trained six ophthalmologists from Benin, West Africa, in the cataract correction technique. After training, the surgeons increased the number of procedures in their local clinics from 320 surgeries per year to 2000 surgeries per year (combined).

The Sierra Leonean Police Force Band was onhand to
help in the welcome of the Africa Mercy and her crew.

In partnership with other international organizations the Mercy Ship has been invited to provide training for local medical personnel who will add capacity long after the ship leaves. The training/mentoring programs will include, but are not limited to, surgeons, nurses, biomedical technicians, hospital leadership, and lab technicians. In addition, agriculture specialists onboard ship will be involved with training of local partners who will in turn train farmers in aspects of sustainable, organic farming techniques to increase nutrition.

Since 1978, Mercy Ships has mobilized people and resources worldwide to provide free health care and sustainable development in the developing world. Each year volunteers from over 40 nations bring their own unique skill sets onboard the Africa Mercy. Positions include physicians, medical personnel, engineers, maritime crew, galley cooks, hospitality workers and teachers. All professional volunteers pay their own airfare as well room and board for the privilege of serving in Sierra Leone, helping to keep the provision of services free to the recipients.

Please click here to view a video of Medical Screening at the 2010 Togo Field Service, the Mercy Ship’s previous port of service.