Many people think that in order to volunteer on the hospital ship Africa Mercy you have to be a doctor, or a nurse, or have some other medical profession, when in fact 60% of the crew work in roles that are not directly part of the on board hospital. Tabitha from the Netherlands is one of those crew members whose work makes it possible for others to care for our patients more effectively. She is the head of the hospitality department which, apart from many other tasks, is responsible for welcoming new volunteer crew members when they arrive and helping them get settled on board.
When new crew members arrive they are normally greeted by a reassuring smile from someone on the hospitality team, given a welcome meal or snack and shown to their cabin. Then once they have rested a bit from their journey they are given a tour of the ship, helping them to know where to go to get whatever they need. Tabitha knows that the sooner new crew members feel at home, the more effective they will be in their job and at the same time allow them to have a more positive overall experience. When Tabitha is not on duty she likes to visit projects on shore and even get her hands dirty painting walls or just playing with the local kids.