The Project HOPE group pictured here disembarked from the USNS Mercy late last week with both a strong sense of pride about having delivered much-needed services and a stronger sense of humility about our place on this earth.
In twelve days of intense orchestrated work alongside the Cambodians, PP-10 provided medical care onshore to more than 29,000 patients via Medical Civic Assistance Projects that ranged as far as 300 miles inland. In addition the hospital ship saw 536 patients who came by boat for medical treatment, including 286 surgeries. In addition to the medical work, Seabees provided three water wells and two water towers; and community service volunteers gave 1700 hours of service at eleven different schools and orphanages.
Radio waves in San Diego, California, and beyond carried live the current news and accomplishments of the Cambodian mission as the USNS Mercy sailed from Sihanoukville, Cambodia, toward Singapore where a new group of Project HOPE volunteers will embark. Taking part in the radio broadcast were (from left to right): Lt. Colonel Helen Murphy (Australian Defense Force), Dr. Marshall Cusic (Project HOPE,s volunteer Medical Director and a Retired Rear Admiral U.S. Navy), Lt. Commander Marc Calero (Public Affairs Officer of PP-10), and Commodore Lisa Franchetti (Commander of PP-10).
Dr. Cusic emphasized the importance of the process of cooperation between the Navy and the NGO’s in building capacity for development in our host nations and in preparing to respond to disasters. He spoke from personal experience of the deep history and commitment of Project HOPE in this endeavor for more than 50 years and especially since the 2005 tsunami. The assembled group explained to their radio audience what has been accomplished in Cambodia in particular.
A new team of 20 Project HOPE volunteers is currently sailing to Indonesia to continue another month-long mission of health care and health education. Check back for more stories.
Thanks for reading - Mary Hamill, Ph.D., Project HOPE PAO
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