Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sales Department On the Ship

Do you work EVERYWHERE??

I hear this question a lot.  I don't have a position onboard where I am locked into one location with one task all week.  This works for me - I like variety! 

Most mornings I am working for the hospital support staff - helping with the patient census at the Hope Center, tracking waiting list patients, finding charts, filling out financial forms for patient transport from up country, etc.  In the afternoons I help in the pharmacy  - counting pills or updating our drug inventory spreadsheet. 

One day a week I am in the Human Resources office helping with new crew orientation forms, updating staff reviews, making sure everyone has a profile biography on our intranet site, and any other projects that Marianne, our amazing HR Manager, can find for me.
Marianne, HR Manager,  with Fatu "Cheshire" this summer at a football game (and me in the background! :))

This fall I also was found at the snack bar or the ship shop.  Our good friend, Herma (from Gateway), pulled a muscle in her neck after overdoing it at work so the Sales Manager, Jeff (also from Gateway), asked if I could fill in.

Now I can see how Herma overdid it at work!

The Ship Shop is open every weekday and in it you can purchase limited grocery staples, toiletries, Mercy Ships branded items, and some local crafts that Jeff buys from the vendors at the craft market and sells at no profit, for the convenience of those serving onboard very short-term (many surgeons and anesthesiologists come for 7-10 day visits), and don't have a chance to brave the crowded adventure to the craft market.

The volunteers who work in the ship shop get lots of exercise, as the containers are lowered by crane down to deck three - then they are removed from the pallets, inventoried, repalleted (after getting around the big metal barriers on the floor and hauled down the hall of the hospital.  Some go down to deck two (hand carried down a precarious flight of stairs into the doldrums of the ship), where surplus non-meltable foods and household items are stored.  Candy and chocolate are taken up to deck five, where the ship shop and snack bar are located.  And sodas are taken up to deck six, to be put in a refrigerated room in the galley.
Here is one pallet of freshly arrived candies, crackers, chips, and otherwise unavailable items in Sierra Leone.  This is in the holding area at the front of deck three.  And the fun work begins.

Of course, we don't have new containers every day.  Maybe only once every three or four weeks.  We get containers from Holland (frozen and refrigerated foods, 220 volt electrical items, medical supplies, etc), and other containers from Texas (Sams Club goodies, medical supplies, etc.). 

On the days that it's not a "Container Day" it is just restocking- carrying empty laundry baskets from deck five down the stairs (16 steps, then 16 more, then up 3 steps, then down 18) to deck two to restock all the items that have run out of the small shop.  Then back up (up 18, down 3, up 16, up 16) with FULL laundry baskets - to restock the shelves.

In addition to restocking, we man the coffee bar (playing Starbucks barista), the snack bar side, and the ship shop.  It's a job full of muscle power and sweat, but a fun one as you get to interact with most of the crew.  Kudos to the Sales Team!!

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