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.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

KRB Update - Guinea

KRB Update #2180 – Guinea

Keith R. Brinkman 18 August 2012

Greetings from the Africa Mercy en route to Conakry, Guinea. All of the required ship repairs, drydocking (see the photo below), and inspections were completed in the Canary Islands (just off the coast of North Africa, but part of Spain). This is the closest location we can take the ship to accomplish these activities. I spent most of my time finishing up work on the Togo 2012 field service, preparing for the Guinea 2012-2013 field service and supporting our teams already in the nation of Guinea. I also visited and had the opportunity to share in a local church who is praying for us and be a tour guide of the ship on one Sunday - it was good to use my EspaƱol once again. Our field service will be from our arrival 22 August 2012 till 15 June 2013.

In 2008 while docked in Monrovia, Liberia, we received an invitation, obtained permissions and went over across the border from Liberia into Guinea for surgical screening. For those who remember, one of my patients, Alimou, that is when I first met him. I look forward to seeing him shortly after we arrive in country. My second time in Guinea was last year as part of the Assessment Team doing the initial relationship building, logistics, and preparations. This will be the third time Mercy Ships has visited the port of Conakry, first in 1992 and again in 1998-1999 – these first two visits were with the Anastasis.
A few facts about the nation of Guinea:

United Nations Human Development Index: Rank of #178 out of 187 countries listed. The only country lower that we have visited was Sierra Leone in 2011 at #180

Independent from France since 1958 – currently a Republic

President: Alpha Conde since 2010

Life Expectancy: 58 years

Population: over 10 million people with over 1.5 million living in the capital and port city of Conakry

Area: 245,857 square kilometers (size of the state of Oregon).

Income: $863 per year

Population under the age of 15 years: 43%

Religion: Muslim 85%, Christian 8% and Indigenous Beliefs 7%

Prayer Request: For those we can help to hear about and to attend our upcoming surgical screening – to be held on Monday 3rd of September. We will use the People’s Palace, a three-story building that should provide good protection from rain (as they are in the rainy season) or sun during the day. All of us crew (both medical and non-medical) will be involved in this event as well as more than 100 local day workers who are essential in the translation process. I will work as the gate keeper at the main gate to the compound. Set up and around the clock security will begin the afternoon prior. We are anticipating crowds of 3,000-5,000, and we will hold a secondary day of screening if necessary to attend to all those waiting for care. For those on Facebook I will post a reminder as the date gets closer. We have already conducted remote surgical screening in ten locations as you can see from the map that the country is large.

Serving Together, Keith