Setting up a Brand New Hospital

Embarking on a volunteer journey with Mercy Ships fulfilled a lifelong dream for Deddy Kruize, an OR nurse from the Netherlands.

“I always wanted to go to Africa, ever since I was little,” she shared. “When I was young, I told my parents, ‘I want to be a nurse.”

That dream came to life in 2010 when she came on board our hospital ship to serve for three months. While on board, Deddy said the spirit of her fellow volunteers inspired her and changed how she performed her job.

“You want to treat your patients like they’re your mom or sister or nephew,” she said. “To care for your patients how you hope others would care for your own family.

Her time on board was so encouraging that she soon returned to continue serving those who needed it most, working as the leader of the maxillofacial team on board the Africa Mercy.

That role shifted slightly in 2020 when the hospital was forced to close down due to COVID-19. During that time, Deddy continued to serve wherever she could and began working in the kitchens to help encourage the other crew members on the ship. Eventually, the pandemic forced her to return home, but she never quit longing for the day she would return to Mercy Ships.

“There is so much we can do for patients in Africa,” she shared. “We have so much more in our western world than they do, and one of the hardest things about going back home is patients complaining about wait times or scheduling conflicts… Our patients on the ship don’t [have the same access], and they’re so thankful for everything we do for them.

Now, Deddy is once again working towards hope and healing as she uses her skills to prepare for the seasons ahead. She is helping pave the way for the Global Mercy’s sailing to Senegal later this year, which is no small task: setting up a whole new hospital that will accommodate up to a staggering 200 patients at a time. It is quite a challenge, and Deddy is focused on the details.

“It’s all the preparations and planning,” she said. “I think, ‘What do we need when we get to Senegal?’” Which, right now, is getting the surgical instruments ready to be used to change lives once the ship sets sail.

There are so many like Deddy who have dedicated their time and skills to change the lives of those we serve. But with the addition of the Global Mercy, we will need even more hands-on deck as we bring hope and healing to those in need.

Are you looking for a way to Make Your Mark? Join our community of over 1,200 volunteers from over 60 nations and see how you can make a difference. Whether you have experience in an operating room or a kitchen (or both, as Deddy has now), there is a place for you onboard. Find your place on board at mercyships.org/makeyourmark