Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Day at the Deputy Chief of Mission House...

Candace and I joined a group going to the US Embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission's house last week, where we were spoiled with muffins and coffee. The muffins were delicious - my favourite was the Parmesan and Pine Nut flavour. We also spent the day relaxing in the lovely gardens and swimming in the pool. It was a great day that highlighted how important our partnership with shore-based organisations and government ministries is - including embassies and other NGOs.

 View through the garden towards the pool.
 The lovely pool.
The beautiful garden.
View towards the house.
 Flowers after rain.
 I love how the rain drops cling to the flowers.
More pretty flowers.
 This flower reminds me of a fire-breathing dragon.
The leaves of this tree are pretty cool.

Stormy Afternoon...

We get some pretty impressive storms here in West Africa. Often the whole day will turn from bright sunshine to a heavy, dark atmosphere in a matter of minutes. This is what happened last week.

 Heavy clouds roll in and the day turns dark.
 It is rather apocalyptic.
A small fishing boat comes into the safety of the harbour.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Corn Harvest...

I had the opportunity to plant a row of corn when we were in Indiana in July. Candace's family harvested my row of corn a couple of days ago and they promptly sent me this photo. It's not the most impressive ear of corn, but it's not too bad considering the terrible drought that parts of the USA have had over the last few months. (And let's not forget that a complete amateur sowed it!) Thanks to Lavone Miller for the photo.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Exploring outside Conakry...

Candace and I had the opportunity to travel outside Conakry's city limits last weekend. We were able to see the beauty that the countryside here has to offer. There are large mountains that stand high above the lush vegetation. There are rivers that wind through the tropical forests, often cascading down impressive waterfalls. It was great to get out of the bustling capital of Conakry and see the natural beauty of this nation. Guinea is certainly blessed by God!

 Beautiful mountains near Dubreka.
 We drove past a small aeroplane by the side of the road. No runway nearby, though.
 The beauty of God's creation is encroached upon by the ugliness of man's creation.
 Beautiful waterfall.
 Candace and I at the waterfall.
 More lovely mountains.
 Spot the waterfall.
A clearing in the bush - used for games of mini soccer. The goals are visible.
Rice grows on the slopes of the mountain - there is ample water here.
Many of the trails are waterlogged.
 Beautiful flowers.
 Some more interesting flowers.
 I made the mistake of standing still to take this photo of ants. I had ants in my shoes and socks!
Hiking through the dense vegetation.
Common way of drying clothes throughout West Africa.
Walking back to our Land Rover to drive back to the ship.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Conakry Port...

As is obvious from this blog and my years with Mercy Ships, God has given me a strong passion for ships and the sea. This passion includes shipwrecks, harbours, lighthouses and any other related nautical theme. Conakry has a busy port. There are always container ships and tankers coming and going, as well as smaller fishing trawlers and canoes. The arrival of these ships and trawlers often create chaos on the adjacent docks, as stevedores unload the vessels and trucks arrive to haul away heavy containers. Here are some photos of what I have seen of the port thus far.

 A reefer comes into the harbour.
 This little Nigerian tanker broke down off the islands and had to be towed into port...
 Which is a good thing, since there are plenty of shipwrecks in this harbour...
 And in the waters outside the breakwater.
An interesting rig/vessel a little way down the quay from us.
 A large fishing trawler.
 There's even a fish on top of its funnel!
 Conakry has a dry-dock, suitable only for smaller vessels.
 This is a view toward the tugs and pilot boats.
 City skyline from the ship.
A large grain or cement storage facility. I'm not sure whether it is functional.
 The Hospital tents on the dock.
 The teams for Admissions, Rehab, Screening, and Outpatients all work in these two tents.
 The entrance and exit to the port.
 A busy day on the dock. There are over 25 trucks in this photo alone!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Guinea money...

The currency that is used in Guinea is called Guinean Francs. There are different denominations of notes, and shown is a stack of bills - each note here is 5,000 Guinea Francs. This stack of some 28 notes is only about USD 20 or ZAR 140. We'll have to make sure we have very large wallets if we're spending any amount of money in town!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Grocery day...

A truck comes onto our dock filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, and other supplies at least once a week. We will receive a large delivery of rice, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables essential to keeping the crew and patients happy and healthy. Before the fruit and vegetables can be eaten, though, it is rigourously washed and bleached to ensure there are no unseen nasties present! 

 The truck arrives and the supplies are off-loaded.
 They are brought up the Gangway into Reception, from where they are taken to the Stores. Here are large bags of rice.
Lots of tomatoes and lettuce!