"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29: 11

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jack's school project

My project is to create and advertise a product on a blog. I would greatly appreciate feedback. Let's see how many comments we can get. Thanks from Jack.
The Bible iPad Case

This tough case makes your favourite iPad look like a great bible and using our specially designed app your iPad will almost fool you into thinking that you hold a hard copy Bible. At only $5 it is affordable for anyone with an iPad. So what are you waiting for, get your case today!
All proceeds from the purchase of this product will go toward the charity organisation Mercy Ships.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

October Update

We have now been in Benin for 10 weeks and are quite settled. The hospital is running at full capacity most weeks. October is typically a very wet month and this has proved to be true with some truly torrential rain. It is scheduled to be drier through November and very dry and hot in December to February.

A new Supply Manager has been selected and will start in November allowing Tammy to remain as the Supply Admin Assistant. She will no doubt continue to remain the glue and continuity in the Supply Team. Tammy is well into her intensive French course at Institute Français and really enjoying it.

Mick was promoted to Second Engineer this month and is settling into the new role. We also bunkered 210,000 litres of fuel which took 2 full days. Hopefully the fuel company will bring a better pump next time. Mick has also completed 4 dives on the ship in Benin now. All the sea water grates have been removed and baskets ("Bangkok strainers" we called them in the Navy) have been fitted with magnets to hold them in place. The dive conditions remain challenging with limited visibility, a lot of rubbish and quite a lot of surge.  We are scheduled to conduct our second monthly main propulsion test this Wednesday which will be Mick's first as Second Engineer - please pray it goes well.

Bangkok strainer

We haven’t found a regular Saturday morning cafe to practice our French whilst having lunch. However last weekend we took a boat ride out to the stilt village of Ganvie - also known as the Venice of Africa. This was pretty cool. About 30,000 people live out here on the lake with schools, churches and a medical clinic all on stilts or man-made islands. The primary industry is fishing with the women trading and selling the fish for other goods and foods which are then sold in a floating market. Mick just wonders where all the sewage goes - fish food he suspects...

Harry driving the boat to Ganvie

We made friends with a visiting surgeon from Sydney - Christophe Berny - who originated from Geneva, Switzerland. He and Mick visited a school at Tangbo about 1 hour drive from the ship - École Clément Magnenat - financed by a young Swiss man - Clement Magnenat - who is a friend of Christophe's family. The school for about 50 students provides a second chance for kids who come from very poor families and have missed out on attending school. They range from 9 to 15 years old and typically do 8 years of schooling in 4 years to try and get them to a level they can re-join regular school. It was truly inspiring to visit and meet the teachers, children and administrator. We are planning to try and raise some money for the school and go and visit.

École Clément Magnenat

Mick has continued to try and get out on both his road bike and mountain bike. He and a few friends (aka cycling tragics) have taken to riding out to Bab's Dock along the Rue de Peche (12 km of sand road), and then taking the bikes in the small boat to Bab's Dock for coffees and waffles, before cycling back through the backblocks and along the disused rail line.

Bikes in the boat on the way to Bab's Dock for a coffee

Next weekend we are going to stay at Bab's Dock again on Saturday night giving us two days and a night off ship. The little sailing boat has been repaired so hopefully if there is some wind Mick and the boys can do some sailing. It will be good to have a break.

A film crew from National Geographic has been onboard since we arrived in Benin. They are partially financed by SBS and the producer is Madelaine Hetherington who produced The Surgery Ship. They filmed Mick in the engineroom changing a fuel pump and dosing the sewage system and then interviewed us in our cabin prior to Mick's promotion ceremony which they also filmed.

That was October.

Cheers, and Blessings,
Mick, Tammy, Jack, Mark and Harry