Sunday, 31 October 2010

More Shipyard Photos...

Here are some more photos of shipyard work taken this past week... Good, steady progress is the name of the game at this point. Please pray that this continues.

The huge crane by the side of the ship...

... Being used to hold a platform for a couple of shipyard workers...

... Who are busy spraying down the hull with high pressure hoses.

These are the marks made by the high pressure hoses in the cleaning process - don't worry though, Africa Mercy will have fresh paint soon!

Another worker uses a crane to get close to the ship's bow.

One of our two anchors.

The new air-conditioning unit in place.

Another look at one of our new generators.

There is much work being done on Deck 2 as well. This is how the Boutique looks now...

... And the Gym...

... As well as the Prayer Room.

This is one of the cabins on Deck 2 forward.

Deck 3 accommodation area, looking towards E Ward (formerly the Lecture Room).

Many large pipes and cables run along the Hospital deck.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Appelsbosch Reception...

This is the Reception area at Appelsbosch, which also doubles as the Purser's office. This is where I spend many hours working during the week.

Through those bars is Reception and my office...

Sometimes I feel as if I'm behind bars...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Pray for Benin...

Benin is a country in which Mercy Ships was docked for a full ten-month Field Service in 2009. I flew into Benin when I rejoined Mercy Ships in September 2009.

Benin is a country that has much poverty, but there is also much warmth and beauty. And it is a country that is in need of your prayers - now, more than ever.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

There has been much progress on the ship over the last week. The hole that was made for the generators has been welded shut (picture at left) and another hole has been cut on the other (starboard) side of the vessel for the air-conditioning units to be removed and replaced.

The old air-conditioning unit is clearly visible in this picture as it gets taken out of the ship

But certainly the most visible change can clearly be seen as you approach the Durban dry dock. The small branding that was above and just aft of the gangway entrance (Deck 5) has been removed and a much larger sign has been painted along maybe half of the ship's length.

I think this adds so much more to the ship. It's much larger and far bolder. Now people can clearly see who we are!

Before (the old branding):

After (the new branding):

Crawford College...

One of the routes to the ship goes past this school, so today I thought it would be a good idea to get a photo... Since I share the school's Scottish name, Crawford!

It even has my family coat of arms (top left) and my family motto: Tutum te robore reddam. (Latin: "I will give you safety through strength.")

With the sign for Crawford College.

New wheels...

Due to the wear and tear that the roads of the KwaZulu-Natal midlands are having on our fleet of Land Rovers - and the fact that we still want them in a good condition for Sierra Leone - Mercy Ships has chartered a taxi (shuttle) company to supply the majority of our transportation needs. They're brand-new Toyota Quantum buses, and they're really comfortable!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Painting the Parsonage...

This past Saturday (9th October) a group of us Mercy Shippers went across the road to the Appelsbosch Lutheran Church to help paint one of the parsonages. This house will be used by the second pastor of the church. It was lovely to get involved in a project with the local community and make a positive impact there. It reminded me of when I used to be involved with Habitat for Humanity blitz builds back in Cape Town. I like this sort of work. Hard work, and definitely meaningful! Photos thanks to Rachael Spencer and Debra Bell.

One way of reaching the top of the wall!

Clearing the dirt off the roof in preparation for the paint.

Working together to get the job done.

Leah paints round the windows.

The house looking much smarter with the walls painted and half the roof done.

Another view of the house - you can see the church at right.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

New generators in!

I went to the ship again today on purser business and stuck my head in the engine-room to see the progress there. The new generators are now in the ship (Don't ask me how they got them in!) - although not installed just yet - and the shipyard are in the process of welding up the hole in the side of the ship. The ship may be floating by the new week. Here are some more photos!

Shipyard workers prepare to weld the hole shut.

Looking out at the hole from the inside.

This is going to be a ballast tank once it is completed.

This is one of our new MAN generators.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Watch Your Step!

It's spring here in South Africa and with the onset of warmer weather and longer days, many little animals begin to lead a more active lifestyle - including those of the slithering kind. Snakes are a hazard here in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands and several have been seen in and around Appelsbosch, including the dangerous Puff Adder. I photographed this large Puff Adder in the Cape Point Nature Reserve a month or so ago. I plan to watch my step carefully from here on in!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Old generators gone!

Since I'll be going to the Africa Mercy for purser duties at least once a week over the next few months, I thought it would be good to keep all of you updated on a more-or-less weekly basis, with pictures when possible, of how the generator project is progressing. And today was one of those days.

Once I had finished my Assistant Purser responsibilities on the ship, I was given a tour of the engine-room as well as the underbelly of the ship. As you can see from these pictures, they are making good, steady progress in dry dock!

This is the space where the old generators were! They're gone and the shipyard are already putting in the platform for the new generators!

Shipyard workers and engineering crew members work side-by-side to get the space ready for the new generators.

Another view of the cut made in the side of the ship.

Looking at the bow of the ship, from about the water-line level.

Another view of the welded bow rudder.

Standing by the large bow thrusters - just aft of the bow rudder.

Looking towards the hole cut for the generators.

Standing between our twin propellers and twin rudders.

Just hanging out in front of the bow :-)

Sunday, 3 October 2010

It's just different, that's all...

As promised in the previous post here are some photos of Appelsbosch College of Education. This is where all the non-technical crew and their families are located during our stay in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We are roughly halfway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in a rather rustic setting, surrounded by sugar cane farms and traditional Zulu villages. When we venture out we share the roads with not only other vehicles, but also pedestrians, cows, goats, and perhaps the odd chicken or two. Thus the drive to Durban is always an interesting challenge!

Despite my personal feelings about Appelsbosch, which are no doubt as a result of missing my floating home, I hope that given time I will settle here. It's just different, that's all. And I can definitely recognise that God has blessed us with these facilities. Especially in the Academy where they have their own large classrooms and the children can run around without fear of being reprimanded for running on a ship. They can be free to be normal children, which I think is a blessing to everyone. (Picture here of the pretty Lutheran church just across the road.)

Anyway, enough thoughts, more photos...

Rolling hills of sugar cane make up the surrounding countryside...

... Along with Zulu villages.

This is the turning to Appelsbosch. We are located close to the hospital.

I've tried to make my door feel as ship-like as possible with photos of my ship family.

This is my room. I had to bring my own curtains, bedding, and little bedside carpet to give it a more homely feel...

And of course I have my photos above my bed.

This is the view from just outside the men's dorm.

Looking towards the women's dorm (left) and the Dining Room (right).

This is the gym, where many a game of indoor cricket has already been played!

Looking towards the tuck shop (snack bar) and the gym.

Composite shot of the braai (barbecue) area in front of the work offices.