Sunday, 28 August 2011

Busiest week...

It's been a crazy last few weeks, but I can finally get back to my blogging! My time in the Purser's hot seat has been challenging, but good. I have certainly been stretched in many different ways, and the number one positive outcome from this time is that I have learned that I can actually do this role if I am called upon to do it.

This last week was perhaps one of my most challenging weeks. It all started on Monday afternoon when I was across the river at Lungi seeing the 15 departing crew check-in for their Brussels Airlines flight. I was at the airport having some passports re-stamped and I was also there to see a very good friend return to Mercy Ships.

I was able to do my Purser business and I was standing with Pastor Mark and Bridget when an overhead announcement was made that the incoming flight SN 225 from Brussels and Banjul was cancelled. A rock had hit the engine as the plane was taking off from Banjul to Freetown and they had to ground the plane. Long story short, our 15 departures had to head back to the ship that night and our arrivals - including my friend - were stranded in Banjul.

Having heard what had happened, I am so thankful that all on the plane in Banjul were all right. The plane was speeding along, about to take-off, when the incident occurred and could have been much worse, had they got even a little further down the runway. As it was, they were able to stop just before the very end of the tarmac. God was definitely watching over that plane! The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33: 27.)

We expected that the next day the flight would come again - after a technician was sent to fix the plane - but alas the plane was still deemed unsafe for flight and was grounded another night. This after we'd sent our departures across the river for a second time. They returned to the ship again in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Wednesday saw many of our departing crew switch to British Midland International - which flies direct to London Heathrow. A small number remained with SN Brussels and the plane in Banjul was repaired and finally landed in the early hours of Thursday morning. I was there at the ferry terminal to meet the arrivals and my good friend, whose arrival at the ship had been delayed over two days. They were very happy to finally make it to the ship!

So that was my busy week - trying to liaise with Brussels Airlines and keep our crew aware of the very fluid situation we were facing. It was a challenge, but praise God it all worked out. And now that the Staff Purser is back from his vacation, I can breathe again and settle back into the role of Assistant Purser - phew!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Africa Mercy Independent Film Festival...

The Africa Mercy Independent Film Festival happened in the International Lounge last night. This event occurs once a year and crew members are encouraged to make short films for the occasion. These are then entered into the competition, evaluated by a panel of judges, and premiered before the whole crew. Awards are presented in the categories of Best Comedy, Best Choreography, Best Drama and Best Picture, to name but a few.

The film festival is also one of those few events on the ship where crew can dress up in their most formal attire. We do have some amazingly good-looking people here on the Mercy Ship! :-)

Us boys put an entry into the competition, So You Think You Can Dance - Sierra Leone, which is a Mercy Ships take on the classic TV show. It involved a cast of over twenty dancers, all dancing to different styles of music. It was really fun to make and we were extremely happy to take the Best Picture award!

Beau - our amazing MC for the night!

AMIFF 2011

The crew await the screening in the packed International Lounge.

The panel of judges gets introduced.

Our film took Best Picture - thanks to all who put in such amazing hard work!

The four Creative Consultants - Jeff, Me, Christoph and Nick - with our trophy.

With Jay - our Editor.

Monday, 8 August 2011

New month, new responsibility...

Apologies for the infrequent posting, but things have been really busy lately. The Purser left last Monday for a well-deserved break and I am filling in as the acting Staff Purser of the M/V Africa Mercy while he is on holiday.

I have spent most of my days down at our shipping agent working on clearance paperwork for our incoming containers, as well as signing for crew mail, and overseeing the Reception Team on the ship. I am also still retaining some of my Assistant Purser responsibilities, such as liaising with Pastor Mark and Bridget over at Lungi regarding the arrivals and departures.

This past Thursday I had my first Fire Drill as the first-in-charge of Muster Control and that, for the most part, went well. There were a few minor issues, but that is why we drill - so that we can learn from our mistakes. And, of course, be better prepared should a real emergency situation arise.

So that's a little slice of what I've been up to in my role on the ship this last week. Quite busy, but I am enjoying this opportunity that I have to gain some valuable experience for the future!