So as far as job titles go, mine sounds pretty important: Public Relations Coordinator. It’s a fancy way of saying I get to make friends with cool visitors and act as their conduit to friendship with my crewmates on board the Africa Mercy. Take a team wanting to make a documentary, get them everything they need, and keep from interrupting life on the ship as much as possible in the process. It’s a tricky balance, but one that I think I’ll strike well enough this year.
Here’s a little about how my job looks (based off my first team this week). I hosted three guys commissioned by the BBC to film two pilots while we were here in Santa Cruz, Tenerife. The first pilot was for the CBBC (the children’s version) for a show on kids who lead cool lives around the world. We followed some of our kids around as they showed us where they go to school, hang out with patients, and shoot each other repeatedly with Nerf guns.
They filmed two families and a selection of kids to give their commissioner a number of options for kid hosts. The kids did a wonderful job. You’d think we had an extensive training program for handling yourself on television the way that they performed on camera. If it gets picked up and the team returns, they’ll have a lot more to film with the hospital fully up and running. By our standards this place is calm at the moment.
Next was a pitch for a documentary on Mercy Ships (this one aimed at an adult/general audience) that required a lot of interviews. We sat down and/or followed a number of crew members around the ship, asking them what it is that they do, why they’re here, and what difficulties and joys they encounter through their time here. It was really fun for me, personally, because a lot of what they shared reminded me just how incredible it is to serve here. We covered ground from the engine room to the academy, and pretty much everywhere in between.
Everyone we interviewed did such a great job. The candidness of their answers combined with the honesty and passion driving them served to affirm that I’m right where I’m supposed to be this year. It was amazing to see the change that came over people in front of a camera (as it usually is). Often they checked themselves, and froze up a little at first, but as they got going pretty much everyone we interviewed flowed smoothly. It was fun to hear the hearts behind so many people that I’ve known for so long, and it made me restless to cast off for the Congo already.
The team of guys from the BBC were really cool, and if their pitches go well we plan on seeing them again in September in the Congo. There are a lot of big names coming to visit us right off the bat, Dana Perino among them, and my schedule is booked solid through December already. It’s gonna be an awesome year.
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Congo-Brazzavile, here we come!