Having been off ship to see what else Mercy Ships are doing while in Benin I am amazed even more by the work going on and the fantastic crew willing to serve the people of Benin out in the field, away from the clean, sterile, safe environment of the hospital here. It was fantastic to see how the warehouse has been converted into the hospitality center - the empty shell that I saw in the pictures when we arrived has been turned into dorm style bedrooms, eating areas and tents for outpatient patient assessments or screenings. There is electricity (backed up by a generator that Mercy Ships has had to purchase as the city power isn't the most reliable), air conditioning in dorm and assessment areas (meaning the African people often sleep with blankets in there at night, but love it during the day!) and an area outside where meals were being cooked and provided by day volunteers.
So what does it do? It is a non-medical, temporary housing unit for 38 patients (although has the mattresses under the beds in similar fashion to the hospital for care-givers) who need somewhere to stay before surgery or between outpatient appointments after surgery. This frees up the beds on the wards on the ship so that all 6 of the operating theatres can run.
There are waiting areas outside and inside where many people sat with a patch over one of their eyes, anticpating the moment where it would be removed and they would be able to see more clearly.