My Week: Tracey Stephens supports fishermen in the Falklands

The area officer for Hull at The Fishermen's Mission recounts her week

Tracey Stephens
Tracey Stephens

Monday: It's the start of the third week of my month-long secondment on the Falkland Islands. I am here supporting the trustees of the Lighthouse Seamen's Centre. It is summer, but the weather is miserable. I visit a corporate sponsor in Stanley, the islands' capital. The mission is blessed with several such sponsors who are generous in supporting our work.

Tuesday: I visit the fishing vessel Gambler, which is in port for six days and requires the centre to be open each evening. I make plans to make good use of the new volunteer rota to help support the fishermen. Lots of cake and ice cream are on the menu as they tend to have a sweet tooth. I also visit the fisheries department, where I meet the island's director of natural resources and the local harbour master. I even see the contents of a squid's stomach in the lab - very informative.

Wednesday: I spend a fun evening trying to get internet access for the fishermen so they can contact home. The connection can be so unpredictable here: I will never again complain about slow internet access in the UK. The boat's crew are Chilean, Korean and Spanish, but we manage to communicate with sign language. The crew are patient and all of those who want to are able to make calls home to their families. For some, it is their first proper contact with loved ones for more than a month.

Thursday: It's an exciting day. I get to visit Government House and meet the assistant governor. We have afternoon tea and discuss life on the island and the forthcoming referendum on whether it should remain a British Overseas Territory.

Friday: Today is a 'smoko' day. No, living on the island has not driven me to nicotine; the term is part of slang used aboard ships and refers to a coffee and cake break. I meet a local lady at a coffee shop to learn more about island life. I'm looking forward to going home and seeing my husband and family. The trip has been amazing. I'll return a richer person having had this experience of working in such a remote place.

The Fishermen's Mission is a charity that provides support to fishermen

Tracey Stephens is area officer for Hull at The Fishermen's Mission

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