In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Sea Sunday

Today, my church marked Sea Sunday with the opportunity to give an offering to support The Mission to Seafarers.

Food, fuel, clothing and electrical equipment are some of the many goods transported, by ship, to the United Kingdom, every day. I was surprised to hear that seafaring staff make it possible for us to receive 90% of the items on sale in our shops. Seafarers' time on land is spent at isolated ports, so we don't see them, but every day, men and women around the world leave their families behind to embark on year long contracts at sea.

Today, I learnt about the lonely and hazardous work that seafarers do. Industrial accidents, extreme weather conditions and piracy place them at risk of injury or death. There are no on board welfare officers, and seafarers rarely have access to telecommunications while they are on mission.

The men and women aboard these cargo ships are living in a physical a spiritual vacuum and are extremely vulnerable. While most shipping companies treat their staff well, a minority do not address the most basic human rights of their searfaring employees, by failing to ensure they have adequate food and fresh water or medical care on board, and withholding their wages.
Today, the priest laboured over a point about the word of God falling among rocks or thorns within us: how we often hear without understanding, look without seeing.... Nine hours later, it ocurred to me that God might have wanted me to know that someone with access to telephone and internet should not be whining over snail mail. Whoops!

I made my offering and sent up a prayer for all the invisible people, across the globe, who endure hardship and exploitation to fill our lives with good things.

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