Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodbye Dili – Hello Darwin


Dear Family & Friends,

At first I thought this Blogging thing was going to easy. It’s not! When you are as busy as I am, it is often very difficult to sit at the computer and get the work done. There is so much happening here, it’s never difficult to find a topic. The difficult part is finding the right story to share with you all. That – and, of course – finding the time to actually write it. At least to not having the writing interfere with my day-job.

We departed Dili, Timor-Leste last Monday and just wrapped up a brief logistics/liberty stop in Darwin, Australia. I’m starting to have great hope for the country of Timor-Leste. It still has a long way to go; however, is has also come a long way from it’s beginnings in 1999. I can also attest to a significant improvement since my last visit in 2006. The violence that has shaken this country is down considerably over the last few years. Make no mistake about it…there are still some old grudges and perhaps a few scores to settle. Nonetheless, there is also a real desire in the hearts of the people I met that the past can somehow be put behind them. There is also hope for a better future – a knowing that it is more important to look forward then looking back.

I was able to take a couple of helicopter flights to visit a few of our MEDCAP sights. The countryside of this small nation is stunningly beautiful with a terrain much like the Coastal Ranges of northern California. The weather was warm but not oppressively humid. The people were very friendly and receptive.

A few of the numbers for this visit:

9846 patients
270 surgeries
1198 dental patients
3892 eyeglasses provided
$298,509 value of biomedical repair
2 major engineering projects
523 animals treated

More important then the numbers we rack-up, are the impressions we leave when Mercy sails away. Our multi-national and multi-organizational crew will, I hope, leave the people of Timor-Leste the knowledge that the world cares about them and their future.

On another note… It was a wonderful 5-day visit to Darwin. Just what the doctor (so to speak) ordered. The crew had a much needed rest and a chance to unwind. We again changed out a whole bunch of reservists and NGO personnel. Many new shipmates aboard. The process begins again. Next stop is Papua New Guinea.
One final note: I would like to wish both my good friends Vicki & Ron a very happy 50th birthday!

More to come…

Bob

6 comments:

campbell said...

hello Sir.

my second visit to your blog. I am very pleased and appreciative of Mercys´ activities and your efforts to log them publicly. thank you. I've enjoyed the reading.

Darrell Campbell

captain said...

visit me on naruto episode

jjenny9 said...

G`Day Captain Wiley,
Just watched your magnificent ship sail into Port Moresby harbour, how exciting.We`ve been living in PNG for 8 years now,& I`ve never seen anything so heart warming, than to see you guys arrive to help the local people.So, thank you Captain & of course all the Crew.
Kindest Regards: Jenny Sadler/ POM/ PNG

diane said...

Capt Wiley,
Thanks for your continued service and the dedication of your entire crew. You are living my dream!Too old to join the MM and too young to
retire and be a volunteer!

proud daughter of a WWII Seabee

Navy Mom said...

Hello Captain Wiley,

congratulations to the "Mercy" for doing such extraordinary work, you will always be in the hearts of people you could help and in the hope of people waiting for your to come back for another chance to be treated.
The mission of a vessel like the "Mercy" is never done and aquires more and more.
This tour could never have been accomplished without all the hard working seawomen and seaman in any branche! You must be proud of your crew, you all are incredible!!!!!
I sure hope, you all got some rest in Darwin and that all goes well in Papua New Guinea...you all will do great, the people deserve it and you will provide what's neccessary. You have proven it so many times.

As always, take good care of yourself and the crew,

sincereley
Renate Di-Do :)

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