Saturday, 31 July 2010

Grade ONE!!!

Tom starts grade 1 on Monday with his teacher from last year Miss Estelle. We went to visit his new classroom tonight and met his new classmate Anna, taking their class to a total of 6 children. Here are some views of the classroom and the boys trying out Tom's desk whilst trying out their new Academy PE clothes!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Get your diary out (if you live in the UK)

Mighty Ships is a TV series by Canada's discovery Channel about large ships - and the Africa Mercy is featured in an hour long episode. It has been broadcast in Canada already and people seem to think it has been done well. Hopefully we'll get to watch it soon!

To see it you need to watch Quest TV on Tuesday 7th September at 9pm (Sky Channel 154/Freeview Channel 38). Their website is

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


We are now all back in Lome, Togo, West Africa! Tommy travelled back on Saturday to start preparing for the start of the school year next week, Sarah, Tom and Josh arrived back with the newlyweds last night. It is still a little weird, but will hopefully feel more like home again now we have almost unpacked and the boys can see their friends without tripping over suitcases! We are grateful for safe travels, for our tons of luggage all arriving and for a good trip back from the airport. Thanks for making it a great trip home and for your prayers for us over the last weeks and days! We are missing people a great deal and have some mixed emotions about being back so soon and would be grateful for prayers that we settle back here quickly, remembering why we are here.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

the end

Since we got back from Chicago things have been a little non stop and Tommy has left to return to the Ship today. He starts the teacher training week on Monday and then we all follow on Tuesday. We have spent a couple of lovely days with friends and our Church in Cambridge, had a flying visit down South, took the boys to Legoland thanks to Tesco vouchers, made a lot of food ready for the Wedding party, barndanced the night away and somehow fitted in the odd job and shopping trip. There is that feeling that we haven't had long enough again, feeling like we have seen friends but all too briefly.. Having said that it has been fantastic - thank you to everyone that has wanted to meet up, fed us, housed us and given us a fantastic break. We have really enjoyed catching up with you! We are off to the Fire Station Open day and park today, trying to fit in some fun things for the boys after them being neglected a little while we got ready for the wedding party. Then to packing and spending our last couple of days with family, if we can face packing one more time.
Once we get back to the Ship we have 3 weeks until we sail to South Africa for dry dock. We'll try and blog some more once we get settled back in our cabin.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Mr and Mrs Slennett

10th July 2010. The Wedding of the Year in Pictures 
(admittedly mostly not taken by me, but by our friend and photographer PJ)

Introducing 'titch' AKA 'the monkey' AKA as Sarah's little brother Sam looking pretty happy about making us all walk through mud for pre-wedding photos, or probably because this was only an hour or so before he married the girl of his dreams
 The boys and men before, not seen PJ's one yet of this shot
The big moment
 The whole wedding party (snapped by me hence the bad light, but you get the idea)
The Groomsmen with Amy and Sam
 and with their Bridesmaids
All these Mercy Ships friends came from around the world to be there
 So here they are, Uncle Sam and the new Auntie Amy :-)
Congratulations! We love you!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A more serious observation...

We have had a lovely time here in Chicago with the wedding (pictures to follow...) It is a lovely place here with lots of parks and lovely weather. We have had the chance to catch up with lots of friends and be part of the wonderful wedding.

However, life goes on. In that I mean that while we have taken a break from Africa, life there goes on. Sarah and I follow a blog from a midwife who used to be at the Rosie (the hospital Sarah worked at) and is now out in Sierra Leone with VSO. The BBC last weekend continued their recent series on Sierra Leone with a report on her work there.

She blogged yesterday this short post:

Last week I went with Jenny Hardy - a freelance photographer who took photos of the Makeni Maternity Government Hospital that I have previously written about in my blog. During the visit we met the Antenatal Sister of the Makeni Government Maternity Department. I have worked with her on previous occasions as many of the student midwives where placed there.
The Antenatal Sister, when I met her last week was about 40 weeks pregnant and expecting her third baby. I asked her if she was still working in her Antenatal clinic as she was near term (40 weeks pregnant) she told me that she had only come to the maternity department to see how the staff all were.
I touched her belly and wished her well with her birth that was only going to be a few days away. She looked healthy and had grown a good sized baby - not too big or too small - just right. She was wearing a beautiful purple Gara cloth dress and looked radiant. She told me that she was looking forward to having her third child and we spoke about things like childcare and returning to work following the birth of her child.
Today the Sister of the Antenatal clinic of Makeni Maternity Hospital died in childbirth at her own Maternity Unit. I do not have any details - the baby - a much wanted little girl survived. This was a very good midwife - she will be missed by her family, student midwives, colleagues, mothers and babies and all those who came into contact with her.
Sadly she was that 1 in 8 that do not survive childbirth in Sierra Leone.
I'm not quite sure exactly what it is I wanted to say about this really except that the contrast between what we have seen during the last couple of weeks of holiday and the reality of life in Sierra Leone is difficult to reconcile - that these are both present realities on the same planet, at the same time, only a few hours flight from each other. I think perhaps it is not supposed to be reconciled but to be changed...


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

food argos

This week we got to experience Portillo's - one of Miss Amy's favourite places to eat. It is a local chain fast food place, selling hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches. You order at the counter where they write the order on a paper bag, then you pay and go and wait with a number at another counter for someone to fill the bag and call you. Just like Argos, except you can't get chocolate cake milkshakes there :-)
Amy waiting for number 95 to be called
Friends and family - Tom, Tommy, Josh, Auntie Amy, Nanny, Miss (almost Auntie) Amy, Natalie, Miriam, Uncle Sam, Andy Mac (Sarah's cousin, about to be Best Man), Grandad, Me

Sunday, 4 July 2010

For Auntie Ann

Happy 4th July!

It is kind of funny that Josh has spent more 4th of July's in the USA than in the UK (two here, one there and one in Benin!). Anyway, happy July 4th to our American friends from all of us in Chicago!

It is fun here, we haven't been into the city yet but the suberbs are lovely, we are making use of the sunshine before the weather changes. So what is it like? We feel like we have just walked onto a TV set or something as all the houses here have their flags hanging outside, the basketball net on the drive, Dad throwing an American football to the son in the front garden, mailboxes at the end of the garden etc, it is just like what you see on a movie.

We even saw some patriotic plants yesterday (not that they are unusual, patriotic plants are obviously bred here):


Happy Anniversary Tommy :-)

Here's some pics from our day:
 Beautiful places
 Beautiful creatures
 Beautiful people
 A different place to play
I love you! Happy 11 years!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Tom and Josh's guide to having fun: Part 3

Visit as many parks, playgrounds and beaches as you can, finding ice creams to consume wherever possible
 Is that another West Ham top? Just right for getting covered in ice cream....
Feeding the ducks in Sefton park with Auntie Ann
We walked around the lake...
 ...and saw lots of ducklings and cygnets
We dressed up as Knights for Tom's soldier birthday party in the park
 Sir Tom defending the castle from...
...Joshua the Brave

Tom and Josh's guide to having fun: Part 2

Play football with anyone that can be persuaded to join in, failing that watch football with anyone who will do that.
 Tom -never far away from a football...
 ...or the World Cup games...
 ...we played football near the River Mersey...
...and painted our faces...and then our arms and legs for Englands final match...
 ...and pretended to like West Ham ;-)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Tom and Josh's guide to having fun: Part 1

Meet up with family and friends to share the fun, take a picnic:

 When we went to Nanny's we went down Southend Pier, we had fun racing the train. 
 Playing with (Great) Uncle Mark
 Exploring with Grandma in the woods
Picnicing with Grandma and Grandad
 Playing with Auntie Ann and Uncle Paul in the garden
 The old gang - Bradley, Ciara, Ben, Tom (and Josh) meeting at Histon Rec

so far...

We have had a great two weeks in the UK so far and have now made it to Chicago ready for the wedding. It has been so much fun spending time with family, playing in different parks or beaches each day, having endless picnics and ice creams, seeing friends and enjoying being together. We will write more once we have had some sleep and can think straight :-)