Keith R. Brinkman serving with Mercy Ships. This is another way for me to communicate with you all what is happening. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and entries.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Programs Team Dinner

Our Programs Team Leaders from the Africa Mercy went out for our appreciation meal to a newly opened restaurant in Monrovia. From 12 o'clock it is Winston Myers, Church Empowerment Manager, myself, Brenda van Straten, Advance Team Leader, Jean Campbell, Healthcare Manager and then to the other side is Jeff King, Community Development Manager and then Udo Kronester, Programs Manager.

Blood Bank on the ship

For some of our patients due to the nature of their surgery, they need blood. Our blood bank is 'walking' as it is the crew - we volunteer - are tested and prepared to donate. Last Friday afternoon, I received an urgent call from the lab asking if I would donate a unit. A woman with a large tumor protruding from her neck was in the operating room, but she was needing blood and we have the same type A +. In the photo is my friend Mike O. as he donates.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Deck 4 being added

Deck 4
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
On the Dronning Ingrid the train deck was high and so for the renovations of the ship we divided it in half. Deck 3 being what is now the hospital and deck 4 (you see the photos of the plates/deck being added) is accomodations. I live on deck 4 in cabin 4236 a single cabin with a shared toilet and shower. My home!

Railroad Tracks in the D. Ingrid

Railroad Tracks
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
Prior to us purchasing the Dronning Ingrid, she had been used to transport people, vehicles and trains from one side to the other in Denmark - the train tracks are in this photo. In this space now is the hospital on Deck 3 and accomodations for singles and couples on Deck 4.

Seattle - Caribbean Mercy

Seattle - CBM
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
The former captain of the Caribbean Mercy just received this photo from a visitor who came to the Caribbean Mercy in '98 and in '99 while the ship was in Seattle, Washington. He sent it around to various ones of us as a reminder of a decade ago, where we were.

Reunion in NC July 08

Some of my friends who are former Caribbean Mercy crew had a reunion in North Carolina this month and took this photo. For everyone's benefit, the husbands stood behind their wives and together they are holding their children.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Malcolm Kelly with Yvonne & I

Malcolm Kelly was with us recently on board the ship. He shared that a highlight of the trip came as Malcolm and his father Moses Kelly were received by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who personally thanked Malcolm for providing a positive role model for young people in Liberia. "More than anything, our youth need someone to look up to who has excelled, not only in athletics, but in life. Understanding the importance of discipline, work-ethic and education, as well as nutrition and physical well-being is critical in our efforts to rebuild Liberia," noted President Sirleaf. "Malcolm's willingness to come here to Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves, builds on the natural kinship between Americans and Liberians. Having a young African-American athlete who has achieved so much in life at such a young age reach out to our young people in this way is priceless. We need more of that. Our young people need that kind of encouragement at this critical time in our nation's history," Sirleaf stated. Kelly was obviously moved by his experience in Liberia. "Everywhere we went, people ran up to me to shake my hand and hug me, saying 'Thank you! Thank you!' I was a hero, but not because I'm a football player; it was because I was wearing a Mercy Ships Crew shirt. I don't think I've ever been more humbled and honored than to be considered a part of the Mercy Ships team," he said. Kelly stayed onboard the Africa Mercy during the trip, observing surgeries, and visiting with dozens of patients on the recovery wards. The group also visited a clinic under construction by a Mercy Ships Field Service Team some 20 miles inland in the rural community of Tenegar.

Meeting Malcolm Kelly

Malcolm Kelly with the Washington Redskins - an American football team was recently on board the ship with us in Liberia - in the photo some of the children on board got to meet him. Malcolm has chosen Mercy Ships as his charity of choice. It was reported that Malcolm Kelly looks forward to his upcoming NFL training camp with an additional sense of purpose knowing that he's part of a much larger team as well.
The former standout receiver at the University of Oklahoma and 2nd Round draft pick of the Washington Redskins made the "Vision Trip" to Monrovia, Liberia as a way to shed light on the medical relief effort Mercy Ships has provided for the people of the war-torn nation.

Friday, July 11, 2008

4th of July in Liberia

A close up of some of the crew from the United States as we celebrate the 4th of July. We were asked to wear the colors - red, white and blue. Enjoying the celebration even while here in West Africa. Some of the larger groups of nationalities do the same on special days for their home countries.

4th of July in Liberia '08 USA Crew

4th of July - Independence Day in the USA - though we are in West Africa, the crew from the United States - about one hundred adult and children - gathered on the dock for our dinner and then dessert along with patroitic music, flag and balloons and then this photo of us all in the front of the Africa Mercy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Graduation 06July08 Meal Afterwards

Following the graduation ceremonies and the return to the orphanage, it was time to have a special dinner - most of the graduates are sitting with me here at a table inside the home. Many in Liberia are behind in their education due to the civil war ('89-'03)and lack of finances to send the children to school. At the orphanage, they are doing their best to have the funds to send the children to school, though they are relying on outside assistance for tuition and fees.

Graduation 06July08 Party at the House

After the graduations from KII and 6th grade at three different schools, we all gathered together for a party at the orphanage. They borrowed a generator and sound equipment from the church. Kennedy, the orphanage director, is giving a short speech, before the music, fun and food of course.

Graduation 06July08 Dancing on the lappa

A custom here in Liberia is that during the celebration after graduation the mama puts down her lappa (a piece of cloth) and the children dance around it. In this photo, Jojo, Estella, MaJ, Samuel, Kollie and Moses are celebrating together.

Graduation 06July08 Jojo's Speech

JoJo was the dux (highest grade) for his KII class and had the opportunity to give a speech - written by the owner of the school - in the photo to the right, Mama Comfort. I taught him some things I have learned from Toastmasters. He memorized his speech, had a good voice, maintained eye contact and did a great job. The subject was on the importance of childhood education. I am real proud of him.

Graduation Ceremony 06July08

Four of the children from the Liberia Children Rescue Education Foundation orphanage graduated from KII on Sunday - in the photo from the left Estella, JoJo, Kollie and MaJ. They are attending Christiana Bedell Preparatory School and the graduation was at the New Georgia United Methodist Church.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Save Them Young Ghana

This is the last picture I have from the orphanage Save Them Young in Ghana - from February '08 - this was the orphanage I most involved with during my time in Ghana. I still stay in touch with Wofa who is on staff there. He has shared in a recent email the prayer request for the children and teens as they need our prayers - there has been some spiritual darkness exhibited by the teens. Please email me if you like more details.