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Local man to tell stories from floating hospital

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Kyle Siemens, 22, has signed up for a six-month hitch aboard the Africa Mercy, starting Jan. 12.
He'll work as part of the communications team.
A young Kelowna man will write the stories of Africans whose lives are changed forever by a floating hospital.
Kyle Siemens, 22, has signed up for a six-month hitch aboard the Africa Mercy, starting Jan. 12.
He'll work as part of the communications team, writing about the people who receive free medical treatment on a vessel described as the world's largest charity hospital ship.
"It's all come together pretty quickly, so I honestly don't know what to expect," Siemens said Monday. "But I've already got my plane ticket, so I'm definitely going."
Siemens, who has been studying writing and publishing at Okanagan College, heard about the Africa Mercy from fellow parishioners at the New Life Church.
With the financial support of other church members, he's paying his way to join the ship in the Republic of Congo.
While aboard the Africa Mercy, Siemens won't receive a salary. He says he volunteered because he was intrigued by the chance to travel to Africa and help a worthy cause.
"People who've been on the ship have told me it's a great opportunity to do some good in the world," Siemens said.
The Africa Mercy changes locations about every 10 months, providing free surgeries and medical treatment to people who might not otherwise be able to afford quality health care.
The ship is staffed by surgeons, dentists, nurses, doctors, teachers, and a variety of other professionals, all of whom are donating their time.
It's one of a fleet of vessels, called the Mercy Ships, which have provided medical care to 2.3 million people in 70 countries since 1978.
According to the charity's website, "Mercy Ships seek to become the face of love in action, bringing hope and healing to the poor."

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