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Friday, November 27, 2009

Academy Spirit Day

Each month the Academy has a spirit day, which involves a theme that the kids have to dress up to. This month it was on a Friday so Nathanael was able to take part. So he put on his red, white and blue to represent his countries, UK and USA and proudly bore a dual nationality flag on his forehead.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

President Honours Mercy Ships

Last Week we received the special honour of a meal at the Presidents palace. The occasion was for Mercy Ships to receive a high honour by the President of the Republic of Benin, H.E Dr Thomas Yayi Boni, for the work that has been done in Benin. At the special state dinner the President conveyed the gratitude of his government and the people of Benin to those who serve on board the Africa Mercy. All the Cabinet members from President Boni’s administration were in attendance. 334 crew members were transported by landrovers and buses to the Governmental Palace and met in a big hall for pre-dinner drinks. The President insisted that all Mercy Ships crew were honored and even delivered 80 meals to the ship for those who had to stay and work. There was a bit of uncertainty for the beer that was also delivered as there is no drinking of alcohol on board! After the drinks we proceeded to the main dining hall where the presentation ceremony would take place before eating. Medals were awarded to Mercy Ships crew that bestowed diplomatic status and the privilege to report directly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in honor of the 2009 Mercy Ships Field Service. This rare privilege is primarily reserved for national diplomats and not charitable organizations. Commendations of Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Benin (or Commanders of the Republic) awards were given to Mercy Ships co-founders, Don and Deyon Stephens, and to Chief Eye Surgeon on the Africa Mercy, Dr. Glenn Strauss. This medal is highly regarded in all nations and is a lifetime award. Don Stephens accepted the honor on behalf of all staff and supporters worldwide and the Mercy Ships family who have been involved in over 31 years of the ministry. Daslin Small Oueounou, Mercy Ships Benin Field Director, was named "Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Benin" and our Managing Director, Ken Berry was made "Officier de l'Ordre National du Benin". President Boni also congratulated Dr. Gary Parker, who was presented with the Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Benin medal by President Mathieu Kérékou in 2001. President Boni conveyed his thanks to Mercy Ships for their second visit to his nation this decade and for the love and care they showed the people of Benin.

After the award ceremony the entertainment and food began. We were seated on the table with the Minister of Tourism, Minister of Education and the Minister of the Judicial System and our 2 1/2 year old, Nathanael (He was very well behaved, fortunately!), plus we were blessed with a lady who spoke both English and French well.
As we ate, entertainment was provided by a performance troupe displaying native dance and musical performances representing various parts and traditions of Benin. The Menu! LES ENTRÉES Salade Niçoise (Salad) Vermicelle Chinoise sautée aux saucisses (Chinese fried noodles with Sausages) PLATS PRINCIPAUX Daren de poisson à L’oseille (Fish) Lapin grille au basilica (Rabbit) Mechoui d’agneau (Lamb) Poulet Yassa (Chicken) Carpe braise (Carp) GARNITURES Riz mescicain / Riz blanc (2 types of Rice) Couscous (cous cous) Akassa Ablo Aloco Pomme de terre frite (Chip/Fries) DESSERT Pyramide of fruits de saison RAFRAICHISSEMENT Eau minérale – Variété de Biéere et de Sucreries LES VINS (Wine) Fiol de Pape (Vin Rouge) Château Haut Rouargue (Bordeaux Supérieur) Château La Croix Saint Paul In case you’re wondering…..we ate rabbit, Nathanael ate chips/fries! (and of course the packet of hula hoops and cookies to keep him going until we ate at 9pm!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We're Twittering Tweeting Tweeters

We have joined Twitter!!
So for all you tweeters out there who like to do alot of tweeting on twitter. (We're learning the lingo!). You can now follow us either on twitter, or if you're not on twitter you can check out the "speech bubble" box that we've put on the left side menu of this blog.
We just want you to be a part of our day and we have found a little handy gadget that goes on the desktop of our computer which enables us to tell you what we're up to in a second....isn't technology great!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Clean Post

How do 400 people with different personalities, from different countries, living together on one small ship, differ from each other? The options seem endless, but the answer is revealed in one room on the ship on a daily basis. A place where upbringings and habits are exposed, personalities and humours are uncovered, and good and bad days are made obvious.
Recently we got asked how do we do laundry, was it difficult, do we do it on or off the ship. To be honest it wasn't something that we thought people would be concerned about and when you're here it seems logical and easy. So we thought we'd share with you the complicated process we have to go through to wash our clothes (only joking....it's not difficult really!). This is our laundry room, 3 ironing boards and irons, vacuum cleaners and most importantly, 10 washing machines and dryers. A very handy sock line for all those socks that always mysteriously disappear when you do the laundry. Got an odd sock? just go and look on the line, it's usually there.
Each crew is allowed to do 2 loads per week which includes 2 drying cycles. It is sometimes best to stay in the room the entire hour if personal time keeping is not a strength. It may also be the one place you might run into any department member on the ship. After all, even the Queen makes dirty laundry. Everyone has theories about the best way to sign up for a space: a week ahead or dropping by to see if there is an opening. How to put the soap in: crumbled in the drawer or whole tablet in the machine. Most have differing views on whether or not to fold the laundry of someone who has not shown up but is occupying your machine. Some are laid back and wait 10 minutes for the last person, while others will rush in and move it for them. Some people are meticulous folders and ironers, while others drop socks down the hall as they return to their rooms.
In general it is a hub of activity, a social place and a main chatting point on the ship. At it's best it becomes a generous display of human interaction.
So don't worry, we do get to wear clean clothes each week and when you're a family of 3, like us, you get 6 loads a week and if we plan it right we can get it all done in 2 hours....how about that?