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, December 24, 2011

Day Worker Celebrations

On the Friday before we left we had the priviledge of celebrating and honouring the almost 200 local day workers whom we have worked, laughed, cried, eaten and sweated alongside for the past ten months. We enjoyed lunch together. It was so noisy and colourful as all the day workers were dressed in their finest African dress. Of course we had African food as well. Above are Andrew with Engineering day worker Emmanual who helped Andrew source parts in Freetown. Andrew was also invited to his new baby daughter Rachel's naming ceremony a few months ago.

Andrew and Engineering day worker Ola. Ola is about to complete a Discipleship Training Course in Ghana so he can join the ship as long term crew later on in Togo. Andrew is pretty happy about that!

For the first half of the year I (Jodie) worked in Crew Services. Above are some of the gorgeous day workers from Crew Services-Esther, Sama and Nancy.

 After lunch there was a time of singing and speeches in the International Lounge. It was still noisy and colourful and the singing was amazing. The crowd went wild! There was cheering, chanting, clapping and yes.....crowd surfing. The Captain was lifted high and passed around the jubilant crowd!!

Here I am all dressed and ready for the ice-cream serving. My dress was a gift from dental day worker, Margaret whom I worked closely alongside and formed a special friendship with.

Serving ice cream to the masses in Town Square.

Me and Mimih from Crew Services.

Margaret and I in our matching outfits. It is quite the tradition to wear matching outfits in West Africa during times of celebration.

After ice cream each department was announced over the PA and ceremoniously led off the ship and down the gangway onto the dock by their department head. As Andrew looked after all 21 engineering day workers during this field service he led some of them off the ship. Andrew did everything from their pays to buying them towels and soap for their showers. Since we have been back in Australia he has received emails from the day workers and we had two come to the dock to pray for us as we left the ship. (Some deck and engineering day workers stayed on a bit later to prepare the ship for sail.)  It was clear that Andrew made a huge impact on these guys! In turn, they were a blessing to him.

Crew Services day workers on the dock. Left to right: Nancy, Eddie (Head of Housekeeping), Esther, Patricia, Isatu, Roseann ( Head of Crew Services), Mimih, Sama, David.

Dental girls

Having some fun with long term crew member and second in charge of the dental department, Liberian born, Sieh

Crew Services day worker Patricia and her amazing hair. It is customary for the women to constantly change their hairstyles and the wearing of wigs is commonplace.

As well as being a day of great celebration, this was also a day of great sadness. We live with the reality that the internet is almost non existent and any form of promised communication is just a gesture. There were many hugs and tears. What a bittersweet day. We will miss you!! Thanks for your hard work and dedication day workers of Sierra Leone 2011!