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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Arriving in Benin

After the sail, It was time to wake up early so as not to miss the arrival.

I was up around 5:30 am in the morning, grabbed a coffee and headed for the top deck. Benin was there just in the distance. Excitement anticipation, especially from my roommate Janet and others who have lived and grown up in Benin.

So many people who have put so much time and efforts into being here, having come from far and wide to join this amazing mission, finally seeing the place that their hearts have prepared for.

One of my On-boarding is a family is a photographer and she was to be going ahead on the Pilot ship so she could capture the event. We caught a glimpse of her on the boat, how exciting for her.




I dashed downstairs to-have very quick breakfast and then got myself back to the top deck, to watch the rest of our approach. There is always a great exciting on both ship and shore at arrival time.

There has-been a team of people working tirelessly for the ships arrival, making relationships, building info-structure and getting all things ready for us. This includes, setting up screening events, arranging the internet and networking, water supplies, electricity and many others.

Arriving




The arrival was exciting,it was a waving, dancing and musical affair, with many people in beautiful clothing waving back to us in Benin, from the dock.





National Geographic team are with us now for 3 months, how exciting. They are making an 8 series documentary.





 National Geographic again 

Kat, our Photographer


Over the days, there has-been a flurry of activity, the nurses and other specialist crew-have-been relieved of the ship cleaning activities (many of them were assigned to the Housekeeping department for the sail. So , for the moment, they are on ward setup which also involves a lot of cleaning. they are busy scrubbing the halls and cleaning the theaters, getting the ward beds ready. It wont 'be long till we have patients on board. That is what this ship was made for, and the hospital services and ministries, all with the charge of bringing hope and healing to lands and people were poverty has promoted itself in various forms.  Its so good to see restoration and hope being restored and overwriting the previous story.

For me she always feels like home, but no more so than when she is operational.

Many of the crew are also involved in setup. Our department has-been getting out the computers and phones and getting the infrastructure setup. Other departments are making connections with local business. The carpentors are at work, the laundry services, the nurses and doctors, the stores and the galley.  We have had the day crew join the ship and getting-settled into their jobs, all in all the ship is a very busy place right now.  If you are interested in joining us for a short time or long, please look here.  https://www.mercyships.org/volunteer/  

The other activity that is in full operation is the patient screening. People from all departments sign up to help with crowd control. I have signed up in a few weeks time, in the hope that the work we are doing has ebbed down a bit. I will write more about that from my own experience When the time comes.  Basically though screening is the process that we use to see patients and to determine who are those that we can help.

Here is a transcript from our Mercy Ships website - Not written by me.
The hospital ship Mercy Ships is here! Thousands of Beninese can enjoy free surgical treatments offert by the dedicated staff aboard this hu manitarian jewel of the world. The ambassador Lucy Tamlyn and her husband yesterday Welcomed the ship at the Port of Cotonou. As the sponsor of the program, Mrs. Talon Welcomed Mercy Ships officiellement on behalf facility facility facility of Beninese autorit├ęs. Relive with A Few of our photos, the atmosphere of the event.
Does not the share of These volontaires Who roam the seas to go to the rescue of vulnerable people inspires you?

First Lady
 Arrival Flag
 Our General Mana
 The Dancers



Sailing from Cape Town to Benin

These few photos were actually just before we sailed into Cape Town harbour on the morning that we arrived. It was a very beautiful morning as you can see.







We set sail from Cape Town around mid evening so we got to say goodbye to the beautiful Cape Town as it was settling down and make preparations for sleep.

I stayed on the top deck and gradually pulled myself away.  It was a strange time to have ones heart transitioning from goodbyes and special moments of being back at a place that once was home, less than a week before, saying goodbye to Durban were I grew up and my family there.

I look back at Cape Town with an element of sadness in my heart but also awe at the beauty I had seen there and the hospitality of my good friends whom I had been able to see.  I then turned forwards and saw the ships new pathways forward, with the moon beautifully lighing the way ahead, thoughts and prayers for the new place I had never seen but would soon call home, Benin.  Having sadness and joy, loss and newness in a few moments was a time to remember.

Our sail was a good one, the seas were calm and the preparations for the time ahead was slowly awaking.  

The job I had was to prepare all the laptops that would be handed out for services.  We were slowly building new relationships too.  Reconnecting with friends from before and we had a wonderful Sunday were we got together as a community and worshiped our Good God on the Bow.


Other exciting events on the sail was seeing a lot of flying fish,  for days and days, when I went out at dinner time or lunch time and look over-board, there were many flying fish, you only needed to be on the lookout for a short while and there there would be, looking at times like a flock of birds appearing out of the waves and the to disappear again a minute later.

And, I moved from being a Polly-wog to a Silver-back.  We crossed the Equator.  Part of that was having a ceremony or sorts. We had a tug of war, as well as some different dancing.  


I did discover on this journey just how much a love ships and sailing.