Suzanne Perkins, an anaesthetist, who was sponsored by Borderland Rotary to spend three months on a Mercy Ship off the coast of Sierra Leone, came to give a talk about her experiences.

Suzanne explained that Mercy Ships is a faith-based international development organisation that deploys hospital ships to some of the poorest countries in the world, delivering vital, free healthcare to people in desperate need. The medical team treat such ailments as cleft palates, benign yet troublesome tumours, orthopaedic malformations and many infant, soft tissue complaints. In sub-Saharan Africa, up to 69% of people live on less than £2 a day and healthcare in these countries either doesn’t exist or is unaffordable to the majority of the population.

Suzanne said, “I was one of the many volunteers, often sponsored by organisations such as Rotary, and to give you an idea of how international the crew is, a patient had an unexpected bleed during surgery and needed seven units of blood (one unit of blood is roughly equivalent to one pint) so a call went out for doners and we took blood from people from fifteen nationalities – I think that’s pretty multinational, don’t you think? Because of this diversity, it sometimes takes some time to assimilate but once I was in the swing of it, I found it so rewarding. I’d like to thank you all for making this wonderful, though sometimes trying, experience, a reality”.

Borderland have been involved with Mercy Ships since one of its members, the late, Linda Barker, a nurse at the Orthopaedic hospital, volunteered way back in 2012 and have sponsored people as often as possible ever since.