The November 22-December 22, 2010 Holland America ms Rotterdam Cruise was truly a special sailing with over three pallets (about 50 boxes) of donated supplies delivered to Fanning Island on Dec. 4th. The January 2011 sailing also donated additional supplies and they successfully delivered them upon their arrival to the island.
The ship and the many staff members have really gone out of their way to meet the needs of the islanders and the passengers who wanted to help donate their supplies.
On the November 2010 sailing, the ship did approve and allow 3 private information presentations given to the passengers by Rich Smith / Director of Pacific CARE Missions.
The last half of each presentation was alloted for question and answers to be addressed. Each gathering consisted of over 150 people who heard about the presentations thru the Cruise Critic and Vantage tour group members and by word of mouth advertising during the meals, other activities and/or other ship tour presentations.
The responses were overwhelming, and the ship and the staff also became involved because of great information lectures from the ship’s Travel Consultant Lisa Kimsey and the Human Resource department leader Natalie Ansari got the word out to the employees who collectively donated personal items. The corporate office of HAL in Seattle also gave approval for the ship to donate many ship supplies such as old table cloths, cutlery and medical supplies (surplus). There were even some boxes of fruit donated from the culinary department to bless the local Donation Committee members who rarely get to enjoy those luxuries and much need food items.
Hotel Director Hans Dernison and the Safety, Environmental and Health officer Ronald de Bloeme need to be commended for their extra effort to help in this life-saving and gift giving time so close to the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
The information received from the island council, during their days of sorting and distribution after the ship departed, was the members were overwhelmed with so many supplies for the schools, medical clinics and the people. We are confident that after the upcoming January and March 2011 sailings donate their supplies, the island will be so much better off. There rarely are only a few cargo ships arriving with bare essentials for sale.
After the final follow-up presentation was given in the ship movie theater by Rich, a comment/survey sheet was provided to the passengers. The overall consensus was that Fanning was the highlight of their trip and they asked that HAL would allow future presentations and information to be given so the passengers would know more about Fanning Island before their arrival to Hawaii, and definitely the island itself. This rarely happened on previous cruises and always the passengers would complain “I wish I would have heard about Fanning before going there because I would have helped, or known better what to do when visiting there”. Thankfully, this was not the case for most of the passengers on this sailing, because the ship allowed for people to be informed before arriving to Hawaii and Fanning Island, and after visiting Fanning.
HIGHLIGHT NOTE from RICH SMITH: One exciting experience I had during our visit to Fanning was laying out over 200 pair of new donated Croc shoes on a narrow strip of sand between the beach and the donation/information booth.
We quietly let the nearby officials select one pair of shoes for themselves and we marked their wrist with a magic marker so they would not try to return for more. In just a few minutes there were about 50 people then seconds later about 100 children, teens and adults crowding in to get a free pair.
It became so difficult to hold the people off that we just had to jump out of way and let them go for it.
In 15 seconds it was over and the crowd began to disappear. Later we could see many wearing their new brightly colored shoes. Some, for the first time.
What a treat to see the smiles of the people again and that a pair of shoes just might save their life. I can only remember how one pair saved my life last year from a dog bite while visiting Washington Island!
This newsletter update is currently being edited. Please return in near future to see any new updates of information and more pictures. Thanks for checking this page.
to see a current short news blog from Holland America, please see: HAL blog Tabuearan
Many Mahalos and God Bless!
NOTE: If you are a future visitor to the island with supplies to donate, please contact me directly to find out the best method of giving the supplies to a trustworthy representative of the council, clinics or schools.
Pacific CARE Missions director