Sunday, August 20, 2017

Douala, Cameroon!

We have arrived in Douala as of Wednesday and our internet is now back up and working well! Our trip was very easy sailing. Come to find out, Ezra actually had a stomach virus passed by the children on board. So after about 3 or 4 days sickness, he enjoyed the rest of the sail. (last update we thought he was seasick)

We also sailed a wider (further out)
path on the way to Cameroon. A preventative measure to "steer clear"
where pirates may be operating. We
skirted well west and south, so no safety issues. We had a Cameroon Navy escort for about the last 175 miles.


We crossed over the 0 latitude and 0 longitude mark. What does that mean? We are now Emerald Shellbacks. The rarest Shellback status is that of the Emerald Shellback (USA), or Royal Diamond Shellback (Commonwealth), which is received after crossing the Equator at the prime meridian. I thought maybe I had crossed it before on another ship, the Anastasis. But in any case, mark one off the "bucket list" we didn't know we had!

Academy kids made their own Cameroon flags!
What is there to do while sailing? There were fun activities while at sea. Sock Golf with 18 holes. Up, down, all around the ship. Yes, golf with a sock balled up. Rules are like putt putt or miniature golf. The Wii bowling tournament was a huge hit. Almost everyone participated on a team or cheering their favorite on. So funny seeing people "bowl" on a video game with physical motions. There were also Movie Nights. -- We have plugged into a small group already, so we are looking forward to praying and studying the Bible together.

Our community times were very good as well. We spent time together for worship and even worship on the bow. We had a debriefing about Cameroon history and culture. Learning from the team that was there for the past 6 months.

Soon the population on the ship will double. Meals, space, noise, use of facilities, and "busy-ness" in general.

Medical services will start on Tuesday at the Hope Center. Over 100 going for pre-procedure work and review. Then September 4th the hospital on board will open and then Stephanie's life will get pretty crazy as well...

Mercy Ships has a big Food Service department on board the ship. During field service we feed over 600 people 3 meals a day. It's broken down to galley and dining room on two different decks(or floor levels if you prefer). Since it is a volunteer organization we usually have positions open all the time. Keeping a full staff is hard to do. 250 of the 600 are local Day Crew that we hire to work on the ship with us. Saturday was a busy day! I gave a basic orientation to 15 new local Cameroon people who will work in my department. They start on Monday, coming to work alongside our volunteers in Food Services. 

Much more to come, so we'll continue later...

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