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Monday, April 29, 2013

School Photo's

This last week Nathanael had his school photo's taken.
Here we have all the academy students - around 50 kids.
 Below-the elementary part of the school
 Below-Nathanaels kindergarten class

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jazz Concert

Last March when our social activities co-ordinator went on LOA and Sharon was asked to cover the admin side of her job, it sounded quite simple. A couple of events organised by other people, just keep the sign out sheets current for regular activities-easy.  Then an email came to her inbox about a vision trip visiting the ship from Canada.  One of the ladies was a jazz singer called Maria Manna, and can we organise a concert, with a band.
Then the rest is history.

Sharon contacted one of the drummers on board who had "coincidently" been thinking of getting a jazz band together from ashore to treat the crew with a concert so this was the icing on the cake to go with all that.

Meanwhile as the weeks went on it turned out the band ashore weren't available and so we pulled in various musically inclined crew members to help make the concert work.  As time went on Sharon's learning curve of Jazz went vertical.  Her jazz song repertoire went from nil to maybe 2 songs to 17!  The band decided they should get together and have a practice but we soon learnt that for some of the songs we just didn't have a clue how they went, others we sort of knew but were afraid to do too much in case we had totally interpreted it the wrong way only to have to re-do when Maria got there.
We were very aware that time was short, Maria Maria arrived on the Sunday, practice on the Monday and concert on the Tuesday.  Unfortunately Maria arrived minus her luggage which included her lyric sheets and her "Jazz" dress but we were sure it would arrive before the concert.  We learnt new jazz terms like head, tag etc and what triangles and circles mean on jazz chords and soon we were starting to sound sort of Jazzy.
By the time Tuesday came there still wasn't any luggage so we compromised.  We changed our name to Maria Manna and the scrubettes.  Yes you guessed it, we got the scrubs out as Maria only had the clothes she had flown in.  She even encouraged the OR staff to consider wearing their caps on the side of their heads, much more stylish.
the band
 The concert went really well, we had a great time working alongside Maria.  She is such a great entertainer and the crew had a fabulous time.  You can click on the video's below to hear some of the concert that was recorded on our camera by Tim.
Maria's bags never did turn up and but I love how she turned that around.  Here are some of the things she said in an interview with the Victoria News Monday Magazine, Canada

She packed all the things she thought she’d need: a stunning gown, high heels, jewelry and sheet music.   “I’m all about hair, makeup, heels, nails and pedicures ... and I’m going to Africa,” she said, just days before departing. “You just can’t take that out of me.”

All she had was the clothing on her back, and what little supplies were in her carry-on.
“I felt so poor and alone,” says Manna. “It was amazing the lesson God was teaching me.”
Luckily, the few “necessities” she needed — her face lotions, potions and makeup — had been packed in her carry-on, along with a pair of Ugg boots.  “God knows how important it is for me to have my face,” says Manna. “He wouldn’t leave me totally naked.”
In the 37°C heat, Manna had the choice of wearing the one outfit she had — capri pants, a T-shirt and blue and white striped wedge heels — or scrubs and Uggs.
“I tell ya, God has a great sense of humour,” she says. “I was stripped of all the things that make Maria Manna. She was in the luggage, and her soul went to Africa.”
“Africa was nothing I expected and more than I thought it would be,” says Manna. “There’s a world out there that you don’t know exists and it’s dying ... There is a beauty and happiness in poverty and it lives in Africa. They want nothing more than what they need.”
“I saw their souls through their eyes and I realized that it’s not about me ... I have enough.”
(You can read the full article here: http://www.vicnews.com/news/201331901.html

Did she ever find her bags?...oh yes.  
She was getting her boarding pass to come home and she thought I'll make one last attempt and go look at the lost and found luggage. Sure enough there it was. Security asked, "How can we be sure this is yours, there is no tag on it". She opened it up and pulled out her CD'S!!!!! BINGO!!!! Took her luggage back home! (Gave security a CD)

Maria, thank you so much for blessing us with your talent, humour and heart, we really enjoyed having you here and look forward to the time you return to us.
To follow Maria and hear her music go to her website at: www.mariamanna.com

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Random Things

Sometimes I often think if only my friends or family back home could see what I am doing or seeing they would laugh or think I was crazy.  So to give you a picture I'm going to start occasionally posting the random to you/normal to us things of our life here whenever I come across them and think to take a photo of it to share it with you.
With an exchange rate of $1 = approx 7,000 Guinea Francs and the largest note available is a 10,000 note!  we are often walking round with bulging pockets just to pay for the smallest of things.  These last few weeks Tim has had to pay some bills for the ship.  Of course it has to be dealt with in cash and so he looks more like a banker rather than a Captain.
 Most of our food we get via a container each month, but for the fresh food we have to order locally.  This is how our fruit and veg got delivered the other day.
 Packed to the limit, even with a foot!
Then carried on board
Any builders out there considered using wooden scaffolding. 
 Everyday life on the ship 
 Normal fishing boats here
and always expect to bail your boat!
Anybody old enough to remember ring pulls and bottled coke?  Well they still have them here, except here you don't dare put the ring pull back in the drink and you don't get money back for returning your bottle!
 How to carry your load
 Ever wondered where all those used cars go?  They get shipped here.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creative Arts Fair

Yesterday the academy school held their annual creative arts fair.  It gave us a little look at Nathanael's creative side.  There was music, drama and many pieces of art on display.  It was a very enjoyable evening.
Here is Nathanael in the school choir-click on the video below to hear them
This is one of Sharon's piano students playing the Entertainer. 
 The Grade 1 & Kindergartens did a rendition of the 3 little pigs.
Part of a slideshow of Nathanael's drama lessons
 Nathanael's art work below

A farm scene made out of plasticine

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Family Visit

I often say to friends, if you haven't seen a blog post you know that life is busy and it sure has been recently.
It was great to recently have my Sister and Brother in law visiting for 2 weeks and showing them the world that we live in.  They said that even though we had told them all about it, being here was somehow different.
We wanted to break them in gentle to get them used to things and the heat, so we first headed off to the God is Love Church on the Sunday for them to experience "church" in Africa, followed by lunch, catch up and swimming at a nearby hotel.
We continued the week with a tour of the Mercy Ship's off-ships programs.  These are all the sites that we have on land that support the work of the ship.  We visited the eye clinic, the hope centre and dental site.  I'm glad we did this at the beginning because as the week progressed Sally and Dave started to see patients that they had already met, coming to the ship for surgery or follow up consultations and could see how everything came together.  They were able to sit in and watch some surgeries including a little boy having a cleft lip and hernia operation, which they found fascinating, plus they were able to "look in" on the eye surgeries.  I love it how God orchestrates things and made it so they "happened" to meet the same boy whilst out on the dock and then spend time with him at the hope centre.
(meeting and playing with the hernia/cleftlip patient)
(playing with kids at the hope centre)

We took trips into town to experience the randomness of life in the city of Conakry.  It was fun to see it through somebody else's eyes, things that have become normal to us made us realise that, yes, I guess it is funny to see a photocopier out on the street for people to use, or people walking around with trays of food on their head, road potholes filled up with old a/c units or tyres so you don't fall down them, fridges, tv's, sofa's, you name it for sale on the side of the street.
As the week went on it became clear that some of the demonstrations was starting again in town and so crew were advised not to venture out past the people's palace which meant that they weren't able to visit the orphanage, but we tried to keep them occupied with other things.  

Each weekend we have 2 local boats that provide trips to nearby Islands to give crew a chance for some down time.  So we all signed up to go.   We all donned our too small lifejackets and embarked on the 1 hour journey complete with bail out bucket for water that leaked in!?   Dave and Nathanael enjoyed swimming in the sea, Sally and Sharon enjoyed shopping with the local man who spread out his blanket in front of them and displayed all his necklaces.  It was a fun and hot day!
Our last drama was dropping them off at the airport because all the roads were closed to get to it due to the president arriving.  So we managed to get them in the exit with a rushed goodbye.
All in all we had a great time with them.  You can read a great day by day account of all they did at their blog, it really gives you a look into life here.

Thank you so much, Sally and Dave, for travelling all that way to spend time with us.  We look foward to the next time ?!?