Home            About Us            Newsletters            Support Us            Links            Contact Us

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Togo Statistics

As we are due to sail into our next Field of Service this weekend I thought I should tell you a little about it, then I realised I hadn't really told you what was finally achieved in Togo last year so I'm going to try and cover it all in this post. For those that like to see the figures, here are the statistics from our last Fields of Service in Togo and also for South Africa where we had some programs going on (click on the pictures to enlarge and view)
Togo Statistics
South Africa Statistics

Now we are about to embark on another journey of hope and healing as Mercy Ships serves the country of Sierra Leone whilst docked in Freetown.
Many of you will know that this country had a civil war for so many years that ended in 2001 that they are still recovering from. It is, however, good to see that they have actually gone up slightly on the Human Development Index. Here are just some statistics about the country:
Human Development Index Ranking - 158 (USA ranked 4 / UK ranked 26 / Togo ranked 139 ) Population (by thousands) - 5,835.7 Health: Life expectancy at birth - 48.2 years old Under-five mortality (per 1,000 live births) - 194 Prevalance of Undernourishment in total Population - 46% Maternal mortality ratio (deaths of women per 100,000 life births) – 2100 Education: Adult literacy Rate (those aged 15+ who can read and write a short simple statement of their everyday life) - 41.4% Expenditure on Education - 3.8%
Mean years of schooling (of adults age 25+) - 2.9 years Expected Years of schooling (of children) - 7.2 years Internet users (per 100 people) - 0.3 (could you imagine a life without internet now?) Poverty: Population living below $1.25 per day – 62.79% Refugees by country of origin (thousands) 32.5 (to see full statistics for Sierre Leone click here)
This past week we have been joining together as a crew to prepare for our time here. It has been fun & very thought provoking as our two fellow crew members from Sierra Leone shared about their country. We have even learnt the national anthem and some of the local language, Krio.
Some Krio Phrases
How are you = How d' body
I'm fine thank you = D' body fine tenke
I'm not well = D'body no wello
See you tomorrow = We go see tomalla
National Anthem
(click play so you can sing along to the midi file) -
High we exalt thee, realm of the free
Great is the love we have for thee
Firmly united ever we stand,
Singing thy praise, O native land.
We raise up our hearts and our voices on high,
The hills and the valleys re-echo our cry;
Blessing and peace be ever thine own,
Land that we love, our Sierra Leone.
One with a faith that wisdom inspires,
One with a zeal that never tires;
Ever we seek to honour thy name,
Ours is the labour, thine the fame.
We pray that no harm on thy children may fall,
That blessing and peace may descend on us all;
So may we serve thee ever alone,
Land that we love, our Sierra Leone.
Knowledge and truth our forefathers spread,
Mighty the nations whom they led;
Mighty they made thee, so too may we
Show forth the good that is ever in thee.
We pledge our devotion, our strength and our might,
Thy cause to defend and to stand for thy right;
All that we have be ever thine own,
Land that we love, our Sierra Leone.
Please pray for our arrival and for these coming weeks as we continue to screen patients. Already thousands have been screened in the north of the country by our teams who are already on the ground.
See you soon, Sierra Leone!

Friday, February 25, 2011

School Spirit Day

Each month the school has a 'Spirit Day' where all the kids have to dress up for a theme for the day. Yesterday was African Dress Spirit Day, in preparation for our arrival in Sierra Leone. Nathanael dressed up in his elephant african clothes and joined his class in the academy big room to show it off with his friends.
(Nathanael with his classmates from pre-school and nursery and teachers)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sharon Turns 40

Yesterday was Sharon's 40th birthday. Originally we were supposed to be in Sierra Leone but due to the shipyard delays she got to enjoy it with a cruise. Last night the mum's put on a surprise party for her, of which she had no idea. Even talking to a mum in the dining room as she's holding coffee pots on her way to the event didn't even set any triggers of suspicion.
(Trying to blow out the battery powered candle - a naked flame is not allowed on board so we result to the battery type)
Thank you Mum's for a wonderful surprise, you're the best!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cape Town

At the beginning of February we finally sailed out of Durban, South Africa to make our way to Sierra Leone, our next field of service for the next 10 months.

So much has been achieved during our time there. Here are just a few of things that were accomplished:

1. Replaced 6 old "ship-original generators with 4 new generators 2. Air-con "SABRO" units replaced - (our cabin is now a bit cooler!) 3. Engine Controls from Bridge to the engine room - LOTS of cables 4. Food Stores shelving - if you saw the episodes of Mighty Ships you will know that our galley staff will be glad of that, especially on the sail! 5. Lifeboats 5 year survey, along with servicing the davits. 6. Fire-fighting and SCUBA equipment repaired/serviced 7. A new Mercy Ships logo welded to the funnel and the website painted on the side 8. Swimming Pool was modified - last year a generous donor gave the crew a swimming pool, unfortunately it was still requiring some changes to stop the waves that were forming even from the very slight movement of the ship. Now it's in full use and people are loving being able to go for a cool dip in the pool after the heat of the day. 9. Additional Sprinklers added on 10. Many windows replaced - we got 3 in our cabin so now we can see through them. Plus all windows were covered with a film to help keep the heat of the Africa sun out of the ship. 11. Engines serviced along with all the landrovers. 12. Lift/Elevator had new controls fitted, it now has lights!
We had 3 days of testing things out before having a 24 hour stopover in Cape Town to pick up extra fuel and water.
The school gave the kids the day off (with a catch up work day on the Saturday during the sail) so they could enjoy Cape Town. Cape Town is the home of the School Principal so she knew there was a good time to be had there. So Sharon and Nathanael, along with our friends hit the ground running to cover Cape Town as quickly as possible. That morning we had booked the hop on hop off tour bus so we could at least get a tour of Cape Town.
(Cape Towns 12 Apostles)

This included a stop at Table Mountain where we took a cable car up to the top. The view was amazing and we were glad that we had made the effort to go.

That evening and the next morning we enjoyed the atmosphere of the V&A Waterfront where the ship was docked, filled with many interesting tourists attractions, restaurants and shops. Here we enjoyed our last fill of Fish and Chips for 10 months.

(Nathanael holding Nelson Mandela's hand, part of nobel peace statues)

(Made out of Coca Cola crates!)
(smaller version of the London Eye)
We set sail the following evening and enjoyed the sunset as we sailed out for a 10 day voyage.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shredded Fingers

Yes you did read the title right. Last week Nathanael had the unfortunate experience of finding out what it's like to have your fingers shredded in a paper shredder. Not something he is wanting to repeat EVER! After Sharon had the frantic panic and pulled out his hand, she was next running off down to the crew clinic where the doctor happened to be sitting without any patients. It just so happened that morning the doctor had shared with us at the sailing brief that he will try and sort out little things, but he's really good with trauma and gun shot wounds. So Sharon felt pretty at ease that he was the right person to deal with this emergency, and he was. He got right onto it, untying everything that he had already tied up for the sail to try and find the needle and thread and before long Nathanael was the proud owner of 5 stitches for his 3 paper slits. This is Nathanael all bound up afterwards:
Today (10 days later) he had the stitches removed and this is what they looked like just before:
He still has to keep it covered up for a while as we wait for the split nail to heal, but all in all he was a VERY brave boy. Get better soon Nathanael.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teachers Needed

Are you a teacher? Are you interested in missions? Do you know a teacher who is? Please read on.... As the academy on board look to the next school year, they are in need of teachers. Is God calling you, or is there somebody else you know who needs to know that God is calling them HA! Check out this advert from our Academy: Greetings from the Mercy Ships International Operations Center. The Mercy Ships Academy is a unique K-12 school located on the hospital ship – Africa Mercy. The Academy has provided a quality education for the children of our international volunteer staff since 1978. Our school uses a standards-based curriculum in order to meet the needs of our international student body. In 2011, the Africa Mercy will be docked in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and The Mercy Ships Academy is looking for volunteers to apply for the following positions: Physical Education Science Social Studies (new) Kindergarten 1st Grade 3rd Grade 4th and 5th Grade This is a unique opportunity to serve onboard our state-of-the-art hospital ship. To see a list of requirements as well as other resources for teachers, visit the Ship School on the Web. Teachers have one of the most critical and challenging jobs in the world – educating young minds and laying the groundwork for children to become adults. In a spin on a traditional teaching job, Ben Calvert decided to take his teaching career to the high seas. Read Ben's story. Consider joining our teaching team in this unique ship-based setting in Africa. Your life will be changed as you serve the children of the Africa Mercy crew! Prayer Requests: - Please pray for our students, school staff, and other ship crew as they are currently living off the Africa Mercy in a remote area of South Africa. They daily face inconsistant: water, power, phones, and internet access. - Please pray for safety of the students and staff while in this new location. - Please pray for new staff for the 2011-2012 school year. - Please pray for the finances of our teachers. If you would like to assist a teacher with finances, please click here. Contact:
Emily Siemens (recruiter) Emily.Siemens@mercyships.org

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Return From Appelsbosch

As we mentioned in our last post, we have now moved back on board and things are gradually getting ticked off the list in preparation to sail. This week sees the final tests on the generators and engines before we let go of the lines. On our return we couldn't wait to be back on board again. We knew that things might not be working as we are used to but it was nice to be "just" home. When we turned the corner of the shipyard there was a special greeting waiting for us. Seeing the banners, balloons & flags that the crew on board had put up in preparation for us brought quite an unexpected emotional response, we knew we were home with not just our immediate family, but our Mercy Ships family. We were all back together.
Now we are enjoying the luxuries of our cabin that weren't luxury to us before, but just because we were without them at Appelsbosch it has made us appreciate them more now.
No more paint chipping off the floor of the shower
A bed without a lump running down the middle
More choice to our wardrobe, rather than what we can fit in my suitcase
A Crew Galley, being able to cook for ourselves when we want
Nathanaels toys
These are just a few things that we are enjoying, but Appelsbosch will always have a special place in many hearts.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Pizza Making

Being in South Africa is certainly a treat and we are trying to enjoy the last weeks here before heading out to Sierra Leone. The crew have now moved back on board from Appelsbosch college and we have power, A/C and flushing toilets-what more could we ask for. Appelsbosch has really made us appreciate our cabins more and more.
Last week we were able to take Nathanael for pizza, but this restaurant went the extra mile and let the kids design their own pizza by giving them a base and the ingredients, then taking it away to cook it for eating. Here's Nathanael's creation.
The finished product!