We are a family of three; Andrew, Jodie and Jessica (aged 18) from Tasmania, Australia who are currently serving in Douala, Cameroon, Central Africa on the M/V Africa Mercy, the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world, through Mercy Ships International. God has called us on a journey that has been many years in the making. For this season we call Africa home, as we seek to bring hope and healing to the poorest of the poor.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sailing for the first time

Photo from the Bow looking back.

Looking for sea life, we saw dolphins during the first days.

Getting some fresh air after a day in the engine room.

Jessica getting a little close to the water!

Look over there!

Keeping watch 24/7

Ships Pilot departing the AFM - Durban

One of the fire teams prepare for the pilot hellicopter.

Rescue boat also made ready.

Pilot helicopter ready to pick the ships pilot up of the top deck.

Time to leave Durban SA

The Africa Mercy under sail, leaving Durban Harbour.

Jodie securing her work space "The Boutique".

Andy securing his chair in his workspace "The Sauna".

Leaving Durban

Some assistance from two tugs.

The first week onboard

Jodie and Jessica being very patriotic.

All our bags dumped in our cabin.

Our room, high sides to stop rolling out of bed.

Our cabin looking more "lived in!"

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The famillies return to the ship!

What a day this was! We had waited 4 years for this moment! This is my first time on the Africa Mercy. Jess and I are in reception waiting to get our security badges. We had a wonderful welcome. There was a large sign hanging from deck 7 railings welcoming back families and crew from Applesbosch and all the flags of the nations represented on board. It was a very emotional scene and I certainly shed a few tears. Also I hadn't seen Andrew for 6 days! The Captian sounded the ship's horn each time the buses and landrovers pulled up.

Driving back to Appelsbosch from Durban we were hit by a very bad storm. Trees were falling all over the road and visability was very poor. I had gotten back to Appelsbosch before Jodie and Jessica on the Friday night, it was a little concerning, but they made it back okay. The weather here can change very quickly!

The kids get to visit the Moses MabhidaWorld Cup Soccer Stadium. Jessica is posing with the mascot "Zakumi". One of the mothers won a chance to swing out from the arch above. She was all ready to go but couldn't do it in front of her kids.

The "Bosch"

Appelsbosch C Block
So this where Jodie and Jessica lived for the last for the first 3 weeks of our arrival to South Africa. It was an abandoned  college that was two and a half hours drive from Durban. Andrew would visit on weekends and travel back to the ship at 5:30am Monday mornings.
The college is very isolated and inhabited by ticks, bed bugs and huge flying insects. The kids did have a great time running arround, playing in a tree house and on a tyre swing.
It is far cooler however than Durban and the stuffy ship with no working A/C or ventilation.

Taking Barney to his new home.

Barney and Jess asleep in the hire car.

Family Photo
 It was a sad day to leave our doggie behind. He is now living with a very kind lady in Wodonga. He is even going to doggie obedience school (a mature age student). As sad as it was to leave him we are blessed that he is with someone who will love him very much.

The day we left Tassie.

Waving goodbye to family and friends as the Spirit of Tasmania leaves Devonport.