Sunday, May 8, 2011

Work Experience - by Grace Koontz

     In April I got to do a work experience. That means that for three days I spent time working on board the ship instead of going to school. All the kids from sixth to eighth grade get this experience. The high schoolers spend a whole week working. For my work experience I helped out the Deck department. The Deck department is in charge of keeping the crew safe. They make sure that life saving equipment such as the life boats, life jackets, fire extinguishers, fire dampers, sprinklers, and EEBDs (Emergency Escape, Breathing Devices) are in good condition and ready to use. They also make sure that the ship's courses for voyages are plotted correctly, steer the ship, and man the mooring lines (the ropes that tie the ship to the dock). The other main responsibilities of the Deck department are to keep the Africa Mercy's decks clean, painted, and free of rust. Another important aspect and very time consuming one is loading all the food and other cargo sent by container. I learned a little bit about how all these things are done and got to try some of them myself. I enjoyed  needle gunning  and hammering the decks and going to areas of the ship that I would not normally get to go. This has been a very interesting and educational experience and I am looking forward to learning about another department next year.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Down Time

In addition to our beach trip a few weeks ago, we were able to go to a local pool last weekend.  We had a very relaxing day and had the place pretty much to ourselves. 

I had fun tossing the boys into the water.

Looks like a hamburger bat is actually one of the turtles that the boys found.

Xavier had some fun in the pool, too.

Stay back!

Here's Grace working on her backward dives.

Rub a Dub, Dub

So we don't exactly have baths onboard so we make do by using a big Rubbermaid tub for Xavier to bath in and just fill it about halfway with water.  The following photos need no further explanation:

Clownin' Around

Dara is still having a great time teaching the Nursery students onboard.  Her class is made up of 7 kids (all 1-3 years old) from the US, Togo, and Ghana.

She has the kids on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 - Noon.  Our cabin is the classroom for the first hour.  Having 7 kids, a teacher, and generally a parent helper or two in a room that is about 15' x 20' and includes a couch, table, and 6 chairs is a bit tight, to say the least.  At 10:00 the head up to deck 7 to join the preschoolers for the next two hours.

Dara finds it incredibly rewarding, though often challenging, to be able to sow into these little lives and show them the love of Christ.  They bless her in incredible ways.

Here a few photos of them having some fun:

Different Worlds

Not too long ago we had an opportunity to go to one of the local beaches near Freetown.  Here are some of the photos of our drive there:

And, after two and half hours to go about 30 kilometers it looked like this:

Now, to be fair, it was a national cleaning day so there would typically be less garbage on the streets and A LOT more cars.  None the less, the contrast is startling.  It is a stark reminder of both the incredible need in Freetown as well as the incredible natural beauty waiting just beyond the city.


Okay, so I have been entirely too negligent in my blogging as of late.  I have quite a lot of blog-worthy info and photos.  Not sure how many I'll get to but there will probably be a bit of an overload of blogs in the next week or so.  I know, I should probably just post one and leave the rest 'in the can' but I can't help it.  I just gotta write 'em when the time comes.