Esther Harrington

Receptionist from Napier.

At home she’s a commercial pilot and flight instructor, onboard she works in reception where, under the oversight of the Captain, she helps staff the essential communications hub of the Mercy Ship 24/7.‘I am volunteering with Mercy Ships because my heart is to help people in whatever capacity I can,’ explains the 24-year-old. ‘Our aim is to bring some aid and to strengthen, and train their health care providers and systems. We can help path the way for Guinea to heal itself. Unless we do, when we leave nothing will change.’

While not on duty, one of Esther’s favourite things to do is be a ‘buddy’ to one of the paediatric patients onboard for surgery. Five-year-old M’Muh, pictured here with Esther, had a long recovery after free surgery removed the benign growth that drooped over her forehead like a sack and was beginning to dislodge her eye. In the weeks following M’Muh’s operation, Esther’s TLC and fun-loving games worked alongside state-of-the-art medical care to see the little girl emerge from her shell of rejection and meet the world with a grin.

Esther and M’Mah

‘The work that Mercy Ships is doing is of insurmountable importance,’ reflects Esther. ‘The ripple effect that Mercy Ships has on the nations we visit is immeasurable. When people receive aid from the ship, they don’t keep it a secret. They tell anyone and everyone, and it spreads joy and hope. And hope is one of the most powerful things a broken nation can hold onto.’

Since the documentary team was on board filming Ship of Hope, Esther took up a new role in the ship’s housekeeping department. She totally loved the fun working with her international crewmates swabbing the decks and keep the ship in, well, ship-shape.

More about Esther and M’Mah





maritime, medical and general volunteer roles with Mercy Ships

With thanks: Filmed and produced by TVNZ SUNDAY, and made with funding from New Zealand on Air