Talk about overdue. If you haven’t been following on Twitter or Facebook you might be thinking I just don’t do this any more. It’s not true! In fact I’m over 100 consecutive days with photos now. If only I’d started right off the bat I’d have one for every day I’ve been with Mercy Ships. As it is I’m short something like 2 weeks of photos. Oh well. At least I’m on it.
I think I’ll do these in one-week installments until I’m caught up. It breaks it up into more manageable chunks. Here goes!
February 21 – 2011
It was pouring rain when we crossed the equator. Kind of melodramatic for my first crossing of the equator (on a ship) but it was really cool regardless. The captain said there was some reason rainclouds gathered around the equator, it was one of the signs he said we would see that indicated we were getting close. He also said there would be a giant dashed line… apparently we went through one of the gaps.
I’m gonna go ahead and say that Gini has the most pirate-like glare of the group. Every sail needs a dance party, and what more fitting theme when on the open ocean than a pirate dance party? We had a grand ol’ time. This was the cleanup crew, the few who stuck around long enough to put the room back together. And as tradition holds, we took a ‘last standing’ group photo.
Another tradition on the sail is the olympics. I guess the theme changes every time but the basic concept is the same. Lots of random games and challenges. Winner gets a prize. This one was the Can Olympics, everything had to do with pop cans or pop (soda) trivia. It was a lot of fun. Granted my team abandoned me half way through and I had to finish on my own. But I still came in fifth. At one point during the point tally they started to worry: what do we do if he wins? He can’t win by himself!
I didn’t. But I did get the “True Olympian Spirit” award for my brave efforts.
We finally made it to Sierra Leone. My dad was waiting for me on the dock and we had a lot of hoopla and fanfare to mark the occasion. I was 2nd or 3rd on the ground from the ship (some said 1st, it’s kind of a blur) to set up the sound system for the various speeches. I was a bit nervous, but I didn’t need to be. It was fairly laid back. Either way, welcome to Sierra Leone!
We got new projectors practically the minute we made land. Johan and I spent something like 30 minutes trying to figure out how to swap out their standard lenses for our nice long-throw lenses. Turns out we just had to push a switch and voila, out they came. Good thing we figured it out (simultaneously as it were) because we were about to start dismantling crap right then and there.
So your TV stops working and you’re in West Africa. What do you do? We have two TVs in reception that run the notice boards 24/7, and this one was cycling through every channel it could find for no apparent reason. I took it down and tried cleaning it, checking the connections, etc. etc. Nothing seemed to work. In the end I just unplugged the buttons from their circuits. That worked! Which was good because it’s always better to repair something than to toss it out!
While my dad was here he took me to the Crown Bakery, basically the famous local ex-pats restaurant. They had some amazing pizza. So good in fact I think I should make a trip there soon… I was dreaming of pizza the other night. It’s amazing how much I miss food. I need help.
Point is we had a great time. Jesse, our chef on board, came with us and we had a good time talking and eating. While we were there the Minister of Defense rolled in with his entourage and a bunch of Chinese military officials. Talk about awkward, tons of guys in fatigues hanging out and eating. Camera crews. Guys with guns. We weren’t sure if we should feel more or less safe because they were there.
Runners Up – Because some days need more than one photo