Marianne Widmer, School Teacher

Marianne spent 25 years teaching and wilderness guiding in rural South Island communities from the West Coast to Otago and Southland. Last year she embarked on a new and different teaching adventure far from any mountains – on board the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, Global Mercy.

Why I volunteer with Mercy Ships. 

“I like teaching and learning new languages, and through this learning about other cultures and lifestyles. This has taken me to a lot of different countries traveling or working. New challenges are an opportunity for me to learn more, to broaden my horizon, and I enjoy getting stuck into it, I enjoy solving problems.

I wanted to give some of my time and serve somewhere. I saw a newspaper article about the Pollard family from the Waikato leaving for Mercy Ships, so I applied to volunteer.”

Teaching the hospital ship crew’s children

The Academy (Mercy Ships preschool, primary and secondary school) serves the children of long-term Mercy Ships crew living on board with their families.

“My class is Grade 4/5 here; I have 7 students aged 9-11 years. All our numbers are very small, but in some classes not one of the student’s native language is English, and school is taught in English!  We start every day with Devotions, a lovely way to bring the students together, to talk about the important things of life, to focus on the day ahead, to gather our thoughts.

Part of the Big Picture

Marianne always keeps her focus on the reason she is serving on a hospital ship; to help Mercy Ships provide essential surgery for people in low-income countries who are without access to the health are they need.

“We are all on board with the same wish of helping people in need. We all give our time for free, and we all give our best to serve the poor.

No matter what your role is, all the jobs have the same importance! Without a cleaner the hospital would not be able to operate, and without a plumber, we would all struggle… every little job anybody does is important!”

What about you? 

“Nothing is impossible! Together we can achieve amazing things,” encourages Mariaane.

And to those wondering if volunteering is for them she says, “Being surrounded by people who believe and trust in God gives me even more strength.

Do it! The people you will meet, the growth you will experience, and of course even just being on this amazing ship with all the people is all worth it!”

More about kids, classes and volunteer teaching opportunities

It takes people from all walks of life to make mercy happen. Why not you? Find your place onboard as we serve together to deliver hope and healing.

maritime, medical and general volunteer roles with Mercy Ships