Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Surviving, but not adjusting yet...

So the last few days have not gone exactly to plan...after the wonderful birthday celebrations and day with Miriam things have been a bit crazy.

Our priority was getting Sarah's essay submitted (which has gone off this morning :-)) but that took significantly longer than we anticipated. Sarah's sister Amy has found herself a new job for the next three years proof-reading essays as she did such a fab job on this one...

...then began the saga about children's schools. Tom already had his place in the village where we will be living, but we found out that Josh can't go to school in our village as the classes are full. They proposed to send Josh to another school by public transport, apparently that is fine for a 5 year old who has never been to school before. Having seen how little road and person danger sense the boys have after living in such a sheltered place we really could not imagine packing him off with someone else. There was not a place for Tom there either to send them together. So we have the option of a second school for Josh now at Oakington C of E Primary School which should be easier for us to drive him to ourselves (only about 10 mins we think) but we are not quite sure how we are going to do both school  runs at the same time. We are waiting to hear if there is a place there for Tom to have them in the same school, but then Tom will not want to move as he has friends at the other school in our own village, so it is going to be complicated and less than ideal either way.... with that all taking some time to investigate the different options we finally started unpacking our suitcases yesterday evening. And then we shoved some things back in a suitcase and are off tothe airport headed to Ethiopia. ...

 ...the boys are excited about decorating the Christmas tree and being taken to the movies by Auntie Amy and Nanny. They have been playing football in the garden, snuggled up in multiple layers looking like the Michelin man. They have been checking out nearby playgrounds and enjoying eating toad in the hole (and a ton of other things)...

... when we get back there will be the small matter of Christmas with the Farrell's in Liverpool before moving all of our stuff from Essex to Cambridge in time for the start of school in January. I think we will be busy for a little while yet.

...we're hoping that they stay settled this week while we're away, pray that Nanny, Grandad and Auntie Amy survive and that we have a useful trip to Ethiopia. We haven't really had time to interact with UK culture yet (besides being overwhelmed with the choice of chocolate when trying to buy some to take to our hosts in Ethiopia) so we are postponing adjusting 'til next week :-)

Monday, 12 December 2011

64 units of blood...

Our last weeks on the ship were incredibly busy, so we had blogs in mind to write but that didn't get written before we left. Maybe we'll catch up on some of of the things we were involved with was the blood donation for local hospitals. Staff from the maternity hospital where Sarah has been working this year came to the ship to take blood from the crew to top up their blood bank and that of the children's hospital up the road. Generally patients in Sierra Leone would have to call their relatives to donate them blood when it is required and at times this can prove difficult. If they are lucky a few relatives will turn up and be tested, but many are not suitable donors because of HIV, Hepatitis, anaemia or high blood pressure. It is always good if there are some units in the blood bank for women who have no one else to ask. The women coming for fistula surgery come alone, often having been rejected by their families and the staff often end up being the blood donors when required.
 Lara is one of Tommy's high school students students - she has spent some time working in the hospital/lab on work experience so for her birthday she got to help with the blood taking...
 Lara was fab, she got the blood from both of us on the first attempts and we had hardly any bruising, she'll make a fab health professional in a few years :-)
I wonder how many teachers let their students stab them with a needle?
Thanks to everyone who helped and to everyone who gave blood. You might have just saved a Mama's life :-)

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Miss Elizabeth (Josh's pre-school teacher) made this birthday hat for Josh's goodbye/birthday party before we left. This is him wearing it just after we got off the plane - about 6am on his birthday, they are holding up five fingers each for his five years :-)


We have been blessed to have lived on the Africa Mercy for almost three years with our Ship family. We have been blessed to be able to do jobs that we love and be part of the community.

We have been blessed with good travel back to the UK, we were even blessed by being able to store our luggage in a friends car on the ferry as they happened to be traveling over to the airport themselves. [Ok so we nearly lost a child on the escalator once we got to the UK- completely forgetting they have not experienced lots of the things we take for granted - he was reluctant to step on it with his suitcase and the rest of us had all gone down, but we all made it in the end!]

We were blessed to be met by Sarah's Mum buried under a pile of coats so we wouldn't freeze. We went to McDonalds for breakfast - as requested by the boys for the start of Josh's birthday. Some of that considered that a blessing more than others ;-)

We got back and the boys checked out their new bedroom (AKA Sam and Amy's room) complete with new football bedding and rediscovered their toys that we had sent back a few months ago, oh the joy.

We were blessed to celebrate Josh's birthday with family, presents, cakes and party food [thanks Nanny and everyone!!].

We have been blessed to spend today with Miriam, walk along the sea front [and I really am trying not to moan that it is too old after moaning that Sierra Leone was too hot last week, but lets just say that we had numb faces, tingling hands and icy cold feet at the end of our brisk walk], eat cherry tomatoes and baby oranges, yoghurts and so much more. It kind of feels like we are on holiday, rather than the reality that we don't live on the ship anymore, but we are counting our blessings and thanking God for all he has done in the past few years and the past few days - it has been AWESOME beyond words.

Friday, 2 December 2011

things we will miss

 Magnetic walls and ceilings are so great, we will miss them. It only takes a couple of magnets and a couple of sheets and you have a 'base' according to the boys :-)
West African food - some of us will miss this more than others, but for some of us it is our favourite meal of the week and it will be missed. We'll apparantly try and recreate African Tuesdays - rice with groundnut soup (peanut sauce), fried chicken, onion stew and fried plaintains. You have been warned - you can either come and visit that night or choose another night depending on whether you fancy a bit of West African food or at least our attempt at it.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dental team

Our statistics unofficially stand at:
9138 unique patients
10489 patient encounters
34251 procedures

{Taken from Gini's blog}