Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Human in Humanitarian


Dear Family and Friends,

At tonight’s briefing, Commodore Kearns made a very interesting comment. He said, “For the last several months I have continually used the word humanitarian – as in ‘Mercy’s upcoming humanitarian mission...’ Today I was able to see the human in humanitarian.” He later told me about what he had seen. There was a little girl, an Operation Smile patient for a cleft lip, headed into surgery. On one side of her was a nurse holding the IV bag, on the other side was her father holding her hand. The little girl was obviously scared to death but was being reassured by both the nurse and her father that everything was going to be alright. It was all very human.

What never ceases to amaze me is the courage of the people who come to Mercy. To be boated out to this massive vessel anchored in a harbor. You step aboard to a thousand strangers whose language you don’t speak. You listen to the weird and continuous sounds of a ship’s machinery and ventilation systems. Bizarre foods are being served. Many of these folks are not even used to air conditioning. And as terrifying as this might be; the people come. And in the case of this father, he will trust this ship with his most precious possession - his own child.

I know exactly what the Commodore was feeling. For the last several months I have been wrapped up in the myriad of details necessary to get this ship here. As a professional mariner, I understand all too well the technical requirements of a voyage across the Pacific. As the work piles up, it’s easy to find one skimming over the word humanitarian when using the expression “humanitarian mission.” And then the day comes along when you see a child - born with a terrible deformity – walk aboard your ship. Holding her hand is a father desperately hoping to give this child a normal life. It is all very human.

There really is a human in humanitarian. And it is in our humanity we will find the method of our compassion for others.

More to come…

Bob

9 comments:

NIKKIRAHMANI said...

Good day Captain!
You have very precious cargo on your ship, I am the fiancee of MC2 James Seward. I've been on just about every news source about the Mercy and I am SO happy that there is an active blog. It takes the edge off for us at home.
I have read conflicting news articles in regards to the the Mercy heading to Burma, I hope I am not further exhausting the question of whether there is any word yet?
I am glad to hear that the ship is being used, with its first patients being assisted this last week.
You are providing a new life for your patients, and perhaps a new perspective for your crew.
I truly enjoy reading your blogs.

Thank you!

John said...

This only the beginning of the ships mission to provide humanitarian aid to those less fortunate. Your story of this child and her father coming to Mercy is only the beginning for this crew. There will many more days of small infants and children who require aid to make thier lives better. There also will be those up in age that also will be suffering.

It's this mission of those on board Mercy to go out and do your your best to make each and everyones life you come in contact with better in some way.

In the coming days and weeks, there will be many stories of how much human to human aid is given. I hope that your mission hits the daily newspapers around the world and shows what is being done for the godd of ALL humans.

I would hope it stirs up other countries to get off their rear ends and send thier Naval ships into those countires that need help vice doing nothing.

Amie said...

Good day Captain!
My name is Amie Nguyen, I am a 2nd year pharmacy student at University of California, San Diego and will be a civilian volunteer for the ship for the route from Vietnam to Darwin. I have a question that I would like to ask you. Do you think I can have your email for me to express my concern? I just don't want to put it up on public.
Thank you. Hope to hear from you soon. And Thanks for having this blog so that we can have an up to date of what's going on with the Mercy.

Best regards,
Amie Nguyen.

Pat, Pam, & Sean said...

Hey Captain Bob,
We are so proud of you. Thanks for all you have done. Anyway we can get more pictures? Drop us a personal note when you have time. Between coffee and signing your logs!
Your friend always,
Pat, Pam, & Sean

gwen and allyson said...

hello Captain!!!thank for your blog keep up the good work and pls dont forget to update us.say hi to sk2 dacasin wilson.god bless you all=)

rpg said...

Hello Captain Bob,

We are very happy and eager about your coming to Samar for this very rare opportunity Medical Mission from hospital ship USNS Mercy. We, the local media, in behalf of all Samareños, would like to thank you and your crew for your ‘human in humanitarian’ visit to our place. WELCOME TO SAMAR, SIR!

Ray Gaspay
Samar News.com

A & A said...

Hi, Captain Wiley! Thank you for writing this blog. It keeps us informed of what is going on in the ship. Our Mom tells us when there is a new blog post. Our Dad is the aircraft MO on the ship. Even though our Dad will be missing a birthday, a graduation and an anniversary, your blog has helped us understand a lot more that though we miss him a lot, everything is all worth it. With all the good things you're doing and knowing that in some way our Dad is helping, we became prouder of him, if that is still possible. We like reading your posts and knowing where the ship is and what you are doing. It makes us feel closer to our Dad. It has also given us more understanding of what your mission is really about. Thank you!

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