Community living can sometimes be a challenge. Since we are a Christian-based organization, some people come here with the idea that everything is peaches and sunshine all the time. I had that idea when I first arrived. But, the ship is full of 400 people and we're all human beings, and lets be honest---it's not human nature to be smiling and peachy all the time!!! Ahhhh, the struggles of community living.
I never make it to breakfast. they serve it from 6:30-7:30 and that is just too early for me!! I make it to work at 8 and grab my coffee. Lotssssss of coffee. Life is hard without Nespresso, but I'm makin' it.
On Mondays and Fridays the cafe has fun treats in the morning! Mondays are crepes and Fridays are waffles! For those who don't know, the Africa Mercy has a Starbucks on board and it is the only Starbucks in Africa!
There are "running clubs" that run at un-Godly hours like 5:30 and 6:00am. I got up one bright and shiny Friday morning to run with 2 lovely ladies. Walked up with my ipod and Sally said to me in the sweetest British accent possible "ohhh you cont bring that. They ownly time we've eva been chased by men with machetes is when someone had one of those devices."
"Ahh, yes, of course. Ill put it back in my cabin."
The sun rises here ridiculously early. Other than the above mentioned occurrence, I've never seen a sunrise, so it doesn't affect me much :)
The tough thing about living here is that I can't just walk off the ship and explore the city whenever I want. It is not safe. At first, I was pretty scared to go into town, but as the weeks pass by, I have gained more courage. I am still very aware of my surroundings, but if you go with the right people, you have no problems at all.
The library is one of my new favorite places on board. Its quiet and its a nice oasis away from the madness. I've never been an avid reader, but since I've been here I've read The Help, The Glass Castle, A Million little pieces and A long way gone---all of which are wonderful books! I am loving my new obsession with reading and all the time I have to become a true bookwarm. (nerd alert.)
I thought that I would want to read stories about Africa--most of which are heartbreaking--while I'm here, but I've found that it's actually more enjoyable to read about people from home. Reason being that for that time while I'm reading, it takes me back to what's familiar---and I enjoy being in that place.
A few MINOR irritations:
Chocolate. There is no chocolate here. When the snack bar gets it, its gone in 2 days. Depressing.
Shorts. You cant wear shorts around here. For a girl who lives in T-shirts, wind shorts and tennis shoes, it gets a little tough.
Internet. You can't download anything or watch streaming videos. No skype. No downloading the latest songs on iTunes. No watching Real Housewives of NYC on Hulu. Ugggh.
A few things that remind me of HOME!!!
***I was down in the Post-Ops room the other day waiting with Sassou to get his stitches out (yay!). The team started cleaning up down there, throwing away trash bags etc. I noticed that the hazardous hospital material was disposed of in a Brookshire’s Pharmacy bag.... It made me smile realllllly big!
***We have Community meeting twice a week and last week they played a Mercy Ships video highlighting the happenings of this field service. The intro and closing scenes were filmed at Roseland Plantation and in the bottom corner of the screen it said “Ben Wheeler, TX.” Here I was sitting in a room of truly international representation and they were watching scenes from Ben Wheeler!! Loved it. Bonnet Hill in the house!!!
***When I arrived I was talking with my bunkmate who is from Honduras and she says to me “When I lived in Tyler……..” I did a double take. “You lived in Tyler?!”
Well yes, for Gateway (Mercy Ships training class). I quickly realized that MANY of the people living on the ship have lived in Tyler at some point. Bizarre yet comforting.
Alright...I'll keep you waiting...hanging on for the next installment of "Life on a Boat."
Until then, I leave you with today's devotion from God Calling:
Take joy wherever you go. You have been much blessed. You are being much blessed.
Such stories of blessing are awaiting you in the months and years ahead. Pass every blessing on~
Love can and does go around the world, passed on the God-currents from one to the other.
Shed a little sunshine in the hearts of one, that one is cheered to pass it on, and so my vitalizing joy-giving message goes.
Be transmitters these days~ Love & Laugh. Cheer all. Love all.
Always seek to understand others and you cannot fail to love them.
See me in the dull, the uninteresting, the sinful, the critical, the miserable.
See me in the laughter of children, and the sweetness of old age, in the Courage & Youth and the Patience of man and womanhood.