Sunday, 27 July 2008

Working In Communications...

Since I last wrote it has been an extremely busy time in Communications. I have been busy writing crew and patient stories, and last week I was covering a sporting event for Mercy Ships. Our ship's soccer team were invited to play at the national stadium of Liberia, the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex (SKD). We played a team made up of employees from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and although we lost 3-0, it was a great friendship-building event.

On Wednesday the Special Representative to the Secretary General (SRSG) of the United Nations, the second most important person in the UN world-wide as well as the most senior UNMIL (United Nations Mission In Liberia) official, visited the ship. She had heard that the M/V Africa Mercy was formerly the Danish Rail Ferry Dronning Ingrid, and interestingly enough, she had worked on her when she used to ply the Baltic Sea between Denmark and Germany. So I was covering this event as well. It's amazing how I feel so at home in my new role as a Communications Writer and Journalist. I walk around with my digital voice recorder and my notebook and pen, always taking notes!

However, not all is work here on the Mercy Ship. I'm still involved with my Bible Study out at New Matadi on Wednesday evenings. And I still meet up with friends to chat and pray together. Last week was actually quite an eye-opener for me. A good friend of mine here on the ship challenged me to be more proactive in applying Matthew 6: 33 - “Seek first His Kingdom...” It is something which I have struggled with of late. But it's great to have friends who love me enough to tell me words that may hurt, but are words that I need to hear. So I've been reconnecting with my Heavenly Father, and He's been showing me so much more than before!

On Friday we had a South African evening, and it was great to spend time with my fellow countrymen and women. We watched a SA movie and chatted, sharing stories from back home. We also had a group photo taken (above). There are currently seventeen South Africans on the ship.

Yesterday (Saturday) I joined a group of twenty Mercy Shippers in visiting an old abandoned Hydro-Electric Power Plant, over an hour outside of Monrovia. To reach the plant you have to drive through some really muddy off-road tracks. It was a real adventure to get there. The plant itself was built in 1964 and used to supply a huge amount of electricity, but was destroyed in Liberia's brutal civil war when the rebels came through in 1990. The government is trying to locate contractors to repair this plant, but it will cost an estimated US$244-million! It's just such a pity that such potential lies in ruin. It also highlighted to me that war really brings about such waste. But other than that it was a really great day, spent in good company, and certainly a day I will remember for some time. The other photos here are from this day.

As I type now I am sitting in the Midships Lounge, watching the final stage of the 2008 Tour De France. The cyclists are doing laps of the Champs-Elysees. It is quite a contrast to cycling in Liberia, that's for sure!

Monday, 14 July 2008

From Reception To Communications...

Since I last posted I am no longer a Receptionist. I am just a Fire Panel Trained Communications Writer. The long-awaited transfer to Communications has occurred. And I am so happy.

I have already been put to work gathering interviews and writing a couple of crew stories. Once they have been completed and uploaded to the Mercy Ships Navigator site then I will be able to put them here. The one is on my good friend Jenn Carrol. She is from Canada and has a wonderful blog at She is a very talented writer and had been here since the 8th of February. She worked as a Ward Nurse and left this past Friday. Jenn will be sorely missed by many.

This past week we had Washington Redskins NFL rookie receiver Malcolm Kelly visit the ship on a vision trip. He has named Mercy Ships as his charity of choice. I was heavily involved in this, as this was a very important Public Relations and Communications event. It was such a privilege to spend time with Malcolm, his father Moses, and his coaching staff. Him and his coach trained the Liberian athletes and taught them about correct training techniques across all sporting codes. It was inspiring to see Malcolm's faith and what a mature young man of God he is. He is certainly going places in this world, and has made a lasting difference in the lives of many Liberians here.

Last Wednesday Malcolm and his group were given the opportunity of visiting Tenegar, one of Mercy Ships projects an hour from the ship. It was also my first time to Tenegar. Tenegar is where Mercy Ships Community and Development Services are rebuilding a clinic, destroyed in the civil war. We are also teaching sustainable development and implementing correct agricultural practices. It was a real eye-opener to see what our outgoing teams do. It is also great to see that at any one time there are only two or three Mercy Ships representatives on site. Most of the work is being done by the local community, taking ownership of this project. Tenegar is also a primarily Muslim community and thus through building relationships and literally building this clinic, the light of Christ is able to shine brightly.

This past Saturday we had a “Christmas In July” evening. There were Christmas trees and decorations up around the Town Square area, and even the children were able to experience the joy of unwrapping presents! And while this was happening, some of the older ones reflected on the greatest gift that could ever be given: the gift of Jesus for all mankind. Our Hospitality department did a wonderful job of organising and catering for this event.

Anyway, being in Communications has so far been an incredibly busy time. But it is a good sort of busyness. It is good knowing that what I write may have an impact on people on the other side of the world. It is certainly a change from Reception. A change for the better. A change that has been orchestrated by God.