Sunday, 20 June 2010

film festival

Here is the winning film from the film festival on board this year. If you haven't been on the ship you might not understand why some of it is funny, but you might get an insight into some of ship life. Oh and if you want to see who Joshua wants to marry - Tatiana is in the cafe reading a book and then in the library when the managing director and his wife appear...

Friday, 18 June 2010

so far

We made it to the UK on Wednesday and it is great to be here! The first things we did were catch up on SLEEP, make use of there being a BATH and then picnic in the garden! It felt so great to walk to the post office by myself to post my midwifery re-registration, wallet in hand and not come close to being mugged ;-)

We have visited Great Nanny and played in her garden too (pic above). The boys have been to the woods to play while I hunted for something to wear to the wedding while spending some time with my little sis. Dress bought in the first shop (Hurrah!) so we spent a few hours having fun and headed to shakeaway for a mint aero milkshake. Mmmm. It is good to be home.

Sunday, 13 June 2010


While Josh has a real fever, Tom definately has World Cup fever! We have a wall planner that Tom likes to add the scores to after every match and we have watched quite a few of the games already. Most of the nations who qualified are represented in the crew on the ship which adds an extra spice to many of the games.

It was kind of fun watching England v USA last night with a bunch of people, loyalty split fairly well between the two teams. (Although interesting to see how the loyalties played out in some families - we have US parents with kids who grew up in England and quite a few married couples with one US and one English). It's different to being in a pub with a bunch of England fans, but plenty of facepaint and team shirts to be found :-)

It's times like this that we miss Uncle Sam and the opportunity to remind him of the team for which our great goalkeeper plays for.

Anyway we are enjoying the beginnings of the World Cup here on the ship. Tonight we will join our Australian friends in the hope that our German friends may be dissappointed.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

end of the school year!!

This morning was the Academy's end of year celebration to mark the last day of the school year. Each class was presented as they graduated their grade and each child was given a character trait. This was mixed in with songs, recorders and bells, drama and a signed song. The nursery and preschool started with the song 'five little ducks' followed by Kindergarten reading a poem they had written. This afternoon the school headed across the road to a pool for some fun.

 Nursery and pre-school singing! They could see themselves on the big screens so were a little shy but pretty 
 Tom singing the elementary choir song 'love'
And an afternoon at the pool to finish school!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Hope Reborn

This is written by the communications department about VVF screening:

Akissi, an 18-year-old girl, waits patiently in line. Slowly, she moves closer to the examination area. She thinks back on the four months since her first medical screening near her home in northern Togo. She has been anxiously awaiting this day. The moment has finally come, and she prays that the doctor will say to her, “Yes, we can help you.”
Akissi is one of many female patients that arrived on the dock of the Africa Mercy with the hope of being reborn. These women are being screened for a debilitating condition called vesico-vaginal fistula, or VVF. Such a condition is common in African countries because of the lack of obstetric care. The Mercy Ships program, aptly titled “Hope Reborn,” will ease their suffering.
VVF is usually caused by difficulties during childbirth. Some women writhe in agony for several days before giving birth to a stillborn child. The prolonged, obstructed labor causes a hole to form between the bladder and the vagina, making it difficult to live a normal life. The women experience an involuntary discharge of urine, causing an unpleasant odor.
Maggie Schrenk, VVF coordinator and a volunteer on the Africa Mercy , has also been waiting for this day for several months. “These women are very special. I hold a special place in my heart for them. Today starts 6 weeks of surgeries that will repair their lives.”
VVF is a stigma in African society. Although the condition is prevalent, it is not a subject for discussion. In fact, people try to ignore it. Women suffering with VVF are usually shunned, becoming isolated from everyday life.
If more doctors knew how to repair fistulas, many women could be released from their lives of separation and despair.
That is why Dr. Steve Aerosmith spends much of his time educating local surgeons. Dr. Aerosmith is a VVF surgeon from the United States and has spent 23 years performing VVF surgeries and educating African surgeons about the technique. Teaching other doctors onboard the Africa Mercy is a unique opportunity that Dr. Aerosmith appreciates very much.
“The ship is an amazing training platform,” Aerosmith says. “You take these African doctors out of their home medical facilities, and all their distractions are taken away – no cell phone coverage, no pagers – and all their other needs are taken care of. It's a unique niche for the ship that nobody else can match.”
Screening day onboard the Africa Mercy is a long arduous day, but Aerosmith and the VVF team are prepared and up to the challenge. By 11:00 a.m. they are two hours ahead of schedule.
Lindsay Nelson, VVF Assistant Coordinator, explains, “We are moving through the exams quickly, which is great. We will see about 60 women today. After Dr. Aerosmith examines each one, the team will convene and decide who we will bring in for surgery, and who are inoperable.”
Spirits remain high throughout the day, and examinations are completed by 4:00 p.m. Maggie comments, “We will have ceremonies celebrating the ones who have received successful surgery. That day marks a new life for them and those are the moments I live for.”
There will be many of those moments onboard the Africa Mercy in the next few weeks … thanks to the hard work of the amazing Mercy Ships VVF team.
Story by Claire Bufe
Edited by Nancy Predaina

Women waiting to be examined on screening day - some of these are already dry and have left us for home!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Toms guide to having a party...

1. Invite some friends. I invited my class - Andre, Daniel, Libby and Megan.
2. Start with some games. We started with one where we made funny faces if we were holding the dinosaur when the music stopped, everyone was very funny.
3. Eat! We ate dinosaur sandwiches, pizza, cheese straws, hula hoops and fruit, then dinosaur shortbread shapes, rice crispie cakes and chocolate biscuits. (Everyone should have a dinosaur sandwich cutter, it would transform your boring lunch, honestly :-)
4. Play some games with balloons. We raced with them between our legs, we raced with them on our tummies with a partner and played games keeping them in the air.
5. Watch a film and eat popcorn. We watched Ice Age 3 as it had dinosaurs in it.
6. Eat cake and open presents. I liked my dinosaur island cake and all my presents :-)
7. Play some more games. We played musical statues and musical bumps, sleeping lions and did the chicken dance. We played baby dinosaur, baby dinosaur, t-rex too which is like duck, duck, goose.
I had fun at my party. Mummy and Daddy are glad it is over, they say they live in wonder at Miss Estelle, our Kindergarten teacher, I'm not sure what they mean ;-)

the big day

After starting his birthday with us, Tom then went to school and the whole school sang to him. He managed to fit in building his new playmobil in his lunch break then came home from school to play lego star wars on the wii. We went to the dining room for dinner - Tom had requested hamburgers and chips which the galley do really well. We did hear that when they went to the freezer to get some fries in the afternoon they couldn't find any so then they all got peeling and chopping potatoes at top speed- so a big thanks to them, that must have been a lot of work at short notice but made for a great birthday dinner! Josh helped Tommy ring the bell and then everyone in the dining room sang to Tom, who just kept on eating, a little embarrassed that everyone was looking at him! We then had a few friends over for cakes, put the boys to bed and started on the cake for the party today (which was very fun - Thanks Miriam and Steph!!).

Tom outside our cabin door - we had a special parcel with playmobil knight balloons arrive a few weeks back ready for Toms birthday!
This is dinosaur island in a number 6 cake. Complete with volcano, dinosaur drowning in mud, lake, nest, beach and dinosaur being eaten for dinner (well it is a boys cake!!)

Friday, 4 June 2010

Tom is 6!!

Tom has started his day well with a croissant breakfast and opening presents (Thanks for the parcel Nanny!). Tonight he has requested hamburgers and chips for his dinner and then cake eating will commence :-)

Oh yes - WEST HAM and ENGLAND football stickers!!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

did you know this is a Mighty Ship??

Dicovery Channel Canada are featuring our ship on their Mighty Ship's programme next month. You can read more here. Hopefully one day we'll get to see it!