Monday, 11 June 2007

Together at Last

Finally we are together with the Anastasis in Liberia! It was very exciting sailing in with our crew hanging over the rails and the Anastasis crew singing and waving from the dock. Seeing old friends. Many of our crew were seeing the Anastasis for the first time and most of their crew had never seen the Africa Mercy. It was a wonderful time. We are now in a transition time as people, cabins, offices, hospital, school... are in the process of moving on board. The Anastasis is being taken out of commission after 29 years of service.
New names are being learned hourly. People coming and going. It is a very interesting time, to say the least. Lots of things left to do. Ken's list gets longer and longer! But he remains very cheerful. We are very glad to be here!!!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Welcome! Come on in...

Welcome to our cabin #7321 onboard the Africa Mercy!

We have 2 10 by 12 rooms, a sitting room and a bedroom with a bathroom and shower. And huge windows as you can see. We spent 4 years on the Caribbean Mercy and had no windows at all so you can imagine how pleased we are. Ken cannot believe that all "my stuff" as he calls it, fits in here. As you come in the door this is what you can see.

Then as you move around you can see our plants, comfy chairs, pictures on the walls. A little table in the corner, and then around to the kitchenette area.

There, you have had the complete tour of our living room. Easy and fast to clean. You can almost reach ecerything by turning around in place!. We like it a lot.
And it is always fun to have people over for tea and cookies-
Then the second room is our bedroom and bathroom included.

So, there you are. And you are welcome at any time!!

Look up...Look Waaaaaay up!!!!!

Well, after a very exciting sail to Tenerife on our way to Liberia, we stopped in Tenerife to re-fuel and take on water. We had 2 days there and on one of the days, we travelled to see the volcano, which as I understand it, was the way the island was created. Windy roads up to it, public transportation all the way, cable car up to the crater and then a very steep climb up to the very top for our lunch. Sometimes I know the only reason I make it to the top of some of these excursions is the food at the top. So here we are picknicking at the top of Tiepe Volcano. I'm glad I persevered!!!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

We are Sailing!!!!

Great News!! On March 28th to 29th we had our Sea Trials and we are now out of the Shipyard! And under our own management. We have had lots to do in the last 3 weeks and now we are sailing to Africa as I write. Right now!! Can you believe it? We still say to each other, Can we believe it? We spent 3 days in Rotterdam and now we are on our way to Liberia. And it has been a rocking and rolling few days. It will be 6 days to Tenerife to re-fuel and then 6 more to Africa. We are very excited. It has been a very long 8 years in the making. And when it happened, it happened fast. And we have lots to do still to finish projects, start new ones, combine forces with the crew on the Anastasis and begin our part in the work in Africa. We will have 450+ crew, up to 70 patients in the wards and lots of work to do. Ken will be serving in the role of Technical Superintendent after the 3 years here both as the Executive Director and the Technical Superintendent as well. Ann will be working in a new job in the Community Development in the area of Women’s empowerment. Not sure what it will look like in Liberia, but in Ghana, the Ghanaian women were taught Mushroom Farming, Bee Keeping, Snail farming and various other skills. Very exciting stuff! There will be lots of learning going on in all our lives. A new thing! Some challenges to come. The rainy season…17 plus feet of rain a year, mostly in 6 months. Hard to fathom that much rain! New ship systems to run and see how they work. Heat. Screening day for surgeries, expecting thousands to come, hoping for help. That will happen before we get there. Moving equipment and 300 crew from one ship over to this one. New emergency generators to install, multitudes of technical work still to be done.
Meanwhile we have moved on board, and here is our cabin… I am still trying to make all our things fit into a very nice but not very big area. We would love to have you for tea and a chat.
The last month has been full of strange things like drills, drills and more drills. I am enclosing a picture of Isabella, our youngest crew member at 9 months. She is very patient as she is fastened once again into a life jacket for the drill. A reminder that we need to be prepared at all times.