Usually, Maria Ekstrand, 47, is working as a Floor manager onboard Stena Jutlandica on the Göteborg – 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!” That’s how Maria Ekstrand sums up her volunteer period onboard Mercy Ships hospital ship.
In her role as Dining Room Assistant Team Leader, she worked closely 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 was, in some ways similar to the one she has back home at Stena Jutlandica, there are some differences and challenges to tackle.
“Since we don’t know each other from before, and people have many different backgrounds, communication and patience are crucial. 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.”
On the other hand, it is also the meeting with new people from all over the world that Maria sees 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”, she adds.