Greetings from Guinea!
I have arrived safely aboard the m/v (motor vessel) Africa Mercy as of last night about 9:30 pm or so (I can't really remember what time...)
All of my plane departures were late, but that worked out fine! The scariest part was going through customs, for some reason I could not find my French letter to the customs police granting a visa waiver. They made me look through all my stuff and I still couldn't find it. Finally, I found it stapled to a couple of other papers. I had gotten a little shaky thinking this was going to end up badly, but thankfully it did not! Of course my luggage was the last of our groups to be found, but the cooler of meds I transported arrived safely!!
Our ship's security is handled by Gurkhas - highly trained Nepalese soldiers - so that's pretty awesome. Apparently they go on long fast runs in the mornings...of which we can join...I just don't think I would be able to keep up, so maybe there will be other routes where people run slower!!
I am hopefully going into town a little this afternoon, and tomorrow, get to take a boat ride out to the nice islands about 14 minutes away that have a nice beach. The ship is on 'holiday' for the New Year, so I will not have my rehab orientation until Wednesday.
I am in a 6 person berth, and there will be another newbie arriving next week! I was able to successfully take my 2 minute shower (I think...didn't actually time the amount of time the water was running, but I'm pretty sure I was under time... wet down, soap up, shave, rinse off. Try not to drip water out into the bathroom floor. Our bunks are right next to the men's locker rooms, and on the other side of that are the operating theatres, labs, Xray, etc. (I am on the 3rd deck...so technically about 3 feet underwater) On the starboard side of the 3rd deck are the patient wards (4). I attended church there this morning - African led and the patients and some staff attend. The drumming was awesome, and the dancing to accompany it at the end of the service, well, let's just say it would make some Zumba instructors jealous... :) The patients were fairly calm - there are not many here right now because surgeries stopped 2 weeks before Christmas. Things will probably pick up later this week.
I'll put pictures and such up later!!
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement!!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
But I have started packing!!! :) Mama says the room looks a bit like a 'war torn country'... I don't think it's quite that bad. But I got a humongous, cheap, rolling duffle bag at Walmart, and my goal is to fit everything in it and a backpack carry on. (I will receive a package of medicine with it's own duffle bag and cooler tomorrow, so if I can keep down to 1 bag for myself, Mercy Ships (and myself!) will save money because you get 2 bags to check when going overseas.
So what do you pack for 3.5 months in Africa? Of course, my standard, go-to Tshirts, a few pairs of pants and shorts, a couple skirts/dresses that cover my knees, a bathing suit and beach towel, a couple random ridiculous looking hats (hopefully they will be used and seen in future blog posts...Nick, my boss, says there are lots of random things on the ship where a wig, hat, crazy looking clothes might just come in handy. So I've also packed my striped green and white basketball warm up pants from high school... :) I got some tasty gummy vitamins from Daddy for Christmas...AND a harmonica with instructional book (I had been contemplating taking my harmonica that has been in the house for as long as I can remember...no I don't know how to play)...but what better time to learn than in Africa. Oh my bunkmates will love this ;) hahaha.
Here's the debut of my harmonica playing skills at Christmas...try not to laugh too hard. The actually good instrumentalists would be my dad on guitar and my grandmother on autoharp.
Not so Silent Night
Here's a brief reminder of roughly where I'm going - I definitely appreciate your prayers in the upcoming days (traveling 12/28-12/29) and then over the next few months as I am so excited to see what God has in store in Guinea!!