The Africa Mercy, often called the Hospital of Hope, is the largest civilian hospital ship that brings patients free medical care as well as the gift of a life of acceptance.
The caring and compassionate volunteers bring high technology medical capabilities to people who live in archaic times. The ship travels the coast of West Africa treating deformities caused by tumors, cleft lips and pallets as well as countless other reasons.
Numerous people suffer from diseases that could easily be cured if the right medical care was available but its not.
Many people in the hardest hit areas of the population are ridiculed and excluded from their own communities because they are considered to have been punished by curses or evil spirits.
Last Sunday, 60 minutes aired a special report of their visit on board the ship, and concluded that this is how two worlds meet at the intersection of courage and compassion.
The show highlighted how the crew delivers medical solutions, hope and joy to so many.
Listening to the staff, who pay their own way and volunteer their time, discuss the highs and lows of their work inspires, gives hope and reminds us exactly what humanity represents.
The ship is about 500 feet high, eight decks and the crew of about 450 includes 90 nurses, 15 doctors, 78 beds and six operating rooms.
Gary Parker, a maxillofocial surgeon came to the ship thinking he'd stay for a few months yet 26 years later he continues to return.
Parker shared on 60 minutes that he remembered saying to himself, "When I get an opportunity I want to come, maybe for a few months, and just see what this is about. See if I'm cut out of the right fabric for that kind of life."
It takes special human beings to be able to do and enjoy what the members of this crew do.
The 60 minutes special takes the viewers to Togo, West Africa, which reflects a community that hasn't changed in centuries and most people live on two dollars a day or less.
To view this special in its entirety please visit: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50141243n
Scott Pelley describes the coastline the vessel travels which consists of the poorest countries in the world. Focusing on Togo's sad circumstances, specifically how one out 10 children die before the age of five.
Most of the people that come to the ship don't understand the English language but they do recognize the signs of hope and compassion which each crew member delivers to every single patients.
As reported in the special, the medical crew looks into the eyes of the disfigured patient and are able to see past their disfigurements and more importantly recognize the impact their work will have.
By looking at the pictures in the slideshow the viewer will see how severe these disfigurements are, and ultimately seeing the power behind the volunteers endless work.
The vessel's crew is prepared to face many dangerous situations because traveling across the world to help the less fortunate is an easy, nor safe task. Risks include pirates, poor weather conditions as well as other issues but the crew does not flinch they are prepared and ready to serve.
The crews' satisfaction, knowing the impact they have on the lives of so many less fortunate, this is compassion at its finest.
The African Mercy is supported through various corporate and private donations and many volunteers.
The African Mercy represents that humanity still has not lost its direction in a world where it is obvious many humans have.
For more information please visit: https://www.mercyships.org/home/. Get a closer view of how hope, compassion and positive change are still striving. If you would like to be a part of this wonderful journey you too can volunteer either by prayer, your time or a monetary donation.