Sunday, 21 June 2015

Another Stop on the Journey

We are in Durban! What I have seen of the city leads me to believe it is like many large coastal cities; there is beautiful waterfront, skyscrapers that mark the presence of large businesses, commercial centres (big malls!), and a noticeable divide between rich and poor.
The area around the ship yard is unsafe and so the way our lives work are very different than they were in Madagascar. Instead of being able to walk out of the port and catch a ride (or just walk) you have to put on your hardhat and walk 2 minutes or less to get into a taxi. Don't worry, we don't tote around the hard hats like off duty construction workers, there is a bin to drop them off before exiting the ship yard. Once you get in the taxi you can go wherever your heart desires (within your financial restrictions). Thankfully there are lots of people who like to run so a shuttle has been arranged for anyone who wants to run in the morning. On Friday we drove about 15 minutes and got to what looked like a good place to run. On our route we found an even better place; hopefully we can start there next time. There was even a hill involved! I got particularly excited about the hill because, while Madagascar is quite hilly, there are no hills in the immediate vicinity of the port. 
The repairs have started so there are people working all the time (even on the weekend) and the ship is a little messy with all the insulation being taken out of the ceiling and set on the floor to give the workers access. 

While the inside of the ship is a mess, the view from deck 8 is just beautiful day and night.

Another nice thing about being in Durban is the food! I am getting my fill of green salads. I even got to dine at one of the nicest hotels in Durban. A few friends were staying the night and so I tagged along to have dinner. It was gorgeous! The rooms were beautiful and the view was amazing.

I felt so lucky to have been included in that excursion because it was just such a treat that I would never have indulged in if it were just me.

Apart from that, work is busier than I expect but it helps me stay out of trouble! I am done with my cleaning for today so I am off to try and make sure I don't revert back to my extreme whiteness that happens during winter. Oh yeah, "winter" in Durban is not winter at all. It is more like fall at home, and I LOVE fall, so I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

As an extremely random aside: I was especially pleased with the piping job that  can come from a plain old plastic bag! 

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Oops, I Did It Again!

We are back on the open ocean. Since everyone is all cooped up there are some activities planned to help people stay out of trouble (it doesn't always work).

Last night I helped organized a round of sock golf. Nick, one of our chaplains on board, was particularly excited about his outfit...

Clearly he had good reason to be excited, because that is just classy. 

The past few days have been a bit gloomy but today is just gorgeous. The sunshine was just what I needed for my Saturday after I realized I hadn't been outside for a couple of days (oops). So after the fire drill I got myself out to the bow and saw this...

The immensity of it all got me thinking (which often gets me into trouble). I was thinking about a mistake I made today. It was more a moment of curiosity killed the cat. There was just something I really wanted to know. To be clear, there was no NEED for me to know but I was being stubborn and I HAD TO KNOW! Well... once I knew I didn't want to know anymore. I can't make amends and I can't take it back so now I really have to live with it... Forever.
I make a ton of mistakes everyday; bad choices, poor decisions, unintentionally hurting someone, forgetting to do something, completing a task inadequately, saying things that are awful, offending people, thinking the wrong way, showing up late, and the list goes on. So how is it that sometimes I can just pick up and move on after I make a blunder and other times I can't move past it? I genuinely don't know, so if you have an explanation I would love to hear it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Written from somewhere on the Indian Ocean

Sunday, 7 June 2015

It's the most "insert adjective" time of the year!

You know when Staples starts playing the back to school commercial at the beginning of August and you are just thinking it is completely unnecessary? Well, my dad LOVED that commercial and took great joy in singing it to us (his kids) to remind us that we would be back to school very soon. Although this is the most backwards time of year to be thinking of that song (as everyone is getting ready for school to finish), this is a special time of year on the ship. Orange lifejackets, and at sea drills mean we are gearing up to set sail!

I say that you can insert your own adjective to describe this time of year because it is not the same for everybody. Depending who you are, and your role on the sail, it could be the most wonderful time of the year or, if you are working really hard to get the ship to Durban, it could be the most stressful time of year. If it is your first sail it could be the most nerve racking time of the year because you don't know if you are going to be standing on deck 8 marvelling at the open ocean, or if you will be staying close to a toilet ready to toss your cookies at any moment. It could also be the most beautiful time of year if you get to see some marine life swimming along side the ship, or get to look at the crazy amount of stars on a clear night. Regardless of your adjective, the sail is certainly a unique experience for everyone. I am hoping that I will maintain my status as a good sailor (and get to keep my name), but I have half a dozen cans of ginger ale, just in case. 

If all goes well, the ship should almost be in Durban, South Africa this time next week. Keep us on your mind throughout the week, especially the technical crew who have to work extra hard to make sure we get there safely. 

This field service in Madagascar has been immensely successful, and part of me is surprised that a year has already gone by since I began my Mercy Ships journey in Texas. I have learned so much this year, about myself and about others, but I will save those insights for another post. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in getting to this place, and being able to staying here. Despite the challenges, I wouldn't change any of it. I am looking forward to a quiet time in Durban to gear up for coming back to Madagascar for another field service in August.

What is your word for this time of year (sailing or not)?