Usually Maria Ekstrand, 47, is working as a Floor manager onboard Stena Jutlandica on the Gothenburg – Frederikshavn route. During the summer of 2018 she has left Kattegat to volunteer in the dining room onboard the hospital ship Africa Mercy for three months. “It's an experience I do not want to be without, rather get more of!” Thats how Maria Ekstrand sums up her volunteer period onboard Mercy Ships hospital ship so far.
In her role as Dining Room Assistant Team Leader she works close together with the manager and the rest of the Dining Room team to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, from early morning to late evening. Even though the role onboard Africa Mercy in some ways is similar to the one she has back home at Stena Jutlandica there are some differences and challenges.
“Since we don’t know each other from before, and people have many different backgrounds,communication and patience gets extra important. Compared to back home it can be challenging sometimes to work with people with less experience in this kind of work, but we help each other", says Maria Ekstrand.
On the other hand it is also the meeting with new people from all over the world that Maria see as the most valuable experience from being a volunteer at Mercy Ships.
“It's always good for you to meet new people from different countries and cultures. It gives you perspective.”