Purser from Matamata.
We meet Janine as she drives Dr Neil Thomson from the Mercy Ship to Alya’s village. She had worked a lot of overtime this week in her role as the Mercy Ships Purser, but she is happy to negotiate the ship’s 4WD through the hectic, erratic traffic of Conakry in order to find the little boy who had surgery onboard five years ago.
Janine is the longest serving of the Kiwi crew with seven years of volunteer work and ten nations under her belt. She works directly under the Captain and deals with many of the ship’s legalities including immigration and customs. Imagine transporting medical supplies and food stores for a hospital and 450 crew members a world away – the details and headaches are all part of her job that strategically undergirds the ability of this vessel of mercy to serve the surgical needs of Africa’s poor. ‘I am forever changed,’ she says, ‘mostly for the better I think. It has opened up my eyes and given me a thirst to learn more about who I am and about who God is. Also, I am more prepared now to be pulled way out of my comfort zone – way more than when I first came to the ship.’
While Janine’s role deals primarily with the legalities of bringing a ship, a crew and supplies in and out of port, she reflects on the ‘little things’ that stick in her mind as meaningful moments; ‘The DHL delivery guy that I laugh and joke with every few days, the local people that are employed to work in my department that are real prayer warriors, our Gurkha who brings me a cup of Chai when I am standing on the gangway watching for a delivery truck to find its way to us, the albino African guy that always says hello and shakes my hand when I am waiting for new crewmembers to arrive inside an airport.
‘It’s the little things that I tend to remember and they always involve people and their hearts. The people of Africa are just like you and me – they just want the opportunity to work hard to provide for their families and they want to be loved.’
With thanks: Filmed and produced by TVNZ SUNDAY, and made with funding from New Zealand on Air