Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Extreme Dentistry

Whilst the ship was being pulled apart our Dental team (led by our good friend Dag Tvedt) was out pulling teeth! They visited a number of different clinics to work alongside local dental teams, as well as sending training teams to schools etc to teach oral hygiene.

One of the teams 'specialties' has been termed 'extreme dentistry' in which the team takes a few chairs and basic equipment with them to places where dentists normally don't go (prisons, refugee camps etc).

In Durban the extreme dentistry was aimed at helping some of the cities homeless at a care centre, providing them with free dental care that they may struggle to normally get.

So even without a ship Mercy Ships conmtinues to help the poorest of the poor.

In with the New

Once the old genny's were out the new ones were installed. We've replaced four small Frichs and two large B&W generators with four newer machines that run on heavy fuel oil (HFO), which is a LOT cheaper than the light diesel fuel we used to use (and is still used for the main engines).

So not only do we have four new machines with all the pipework and wiring to sort out, but a whole new fuel system with associated tanks, valves, pipes etc to install as well. The pipework has been one of the hardest and most time consuming aspects of the project so far - and the bottom picture gives you a good idea why it is so hard to sort out. Every pipe has to be shaped to fit around the other systems already in place. For those of you who've worked in engine rooms on ships (or submarines) the challenges will be very familiar!! I have many vivid memories of crawling around pipework on boats and ships trying to get pipes in and out during maintenance periods whilst in the Royal Navy.

Makes me glad to be a desk jockey!

Ship shape - or not

It's been a long time since I blogged, and a lot has been happening. It's always hard to know where to start when there's a lot to tell, so I thought I'd start near the beginning and show a few pictures of what is happening onboard the AFM whilst we're here in Durban.

Our reason for being here is to get the generators onboard changed to new, quieter more fuel efficient ones. How do you get such a large machine out of a ship? Take it out of the water, cut a big hole in the side and drag it out!

Below are pictures of one of teh big Harbour Generators and one of the smaller Frichs generators being removed back in September / October.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

All washed out

It's all hands on deck here at Appelsbosch as we are short of personnel to do all the daily functions required. Anne and the girls are helping in the dining room this afternoon - looking pretty in their aprons!

Birthday Boy

The 9th September was Nathaniels 8th Birthday. It was quite a low key day with presents before school and a cake and run about with friends afterwards - but he enjoyed it. What did he get? Some 'Lord of the rings' action figures (thanks Cole family) and a genuine Swiss Army penknife (with 9 functions). AWESOME.

ship in bits

Well we're in South Africa and living in Appelsbosch. I'll post some more photos later this week so you can see what it's like, but it is a lot more spacious than life onboard and very similar to some of the Youth Hostels that I stayed in as a boy in the lakes. communal toilets and showers, echoing hallways and 'basic' amenities but it is slowly becoming home. One of our guys went to the ship last week and took this photo of one of teh harbour generators that is being removed. As you can see work is progressing and they hope to get into drydock next week to take the remaining pieces out -

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ships that cross in the night

How do we get supplies to the AFM in Africa? Well we found a 'new' way when one of the cargo ships that regularly visits the port of Lome noticed us and the work we're doing, and offered to bring supplies from Europe for us. The offer came just as our European office received a donation of expensive medical dressings, so we put the two in touch and a few weeks later, voila a free delivery of some much needed specialist supplies. The picture shows me with my colleague Tim and two representatives from our shipping agents who handled all the import paperwork on our behalf. As they say in the RN - The Team Works!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Not sure if it's age, stress or just the business of life but the weeks are flying by so fast that the Blog is really getting neglected. Sorryo. Here are a couple of pics of our beautiful and talented reception team onboard. We try to get out a couple of times a year just to relax together, and this year we went to a Lebanese restaurant. Yum.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Birthday Fun

We've got some serious blog catch up to do after a couple of weeks of web neglect! Here are pictures from Ionas 12th Birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Yes it was fancy dress with everyone coming as their favourite film or music star. Rachel is recognisable by her cast, Nathaniel by his premature grey hair (Steve Martin). They posed on the red carpet, made short videos advertising household products and then were awarded a personalised front cover from an international celebrity magazine (amazing what you can do on photoshop). Fun.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Star and Supporting cast

Rachel-Elise was the star; with Dr Brian Simms directing the supporting cast. A word of encouragement before the main performance
Scene 1: Curtain up - the show beginsScene 2: Developing the pot all eyes fixed centre stage
Scene 4: Finishing touches make a polished performance

Final Bow - the star, supporting cast and director smile for the camera - a huge success.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

One of the really hard parts of ship life is having to say goodbye to good friends who leave. This week we said Goodbye to Ken and his dad Udo. Ken was recently diagnosed as being diabetic so needs to return to Germany with his family to get the treatment he needs. Ken and Udo went this week and the rest of the family will follow at the end of the school year.

Nathaniel and Ken have been good friends since 2006 when we joined the Anastasis in Ghana, so it has been particularly hard for Nathaniel to come to terms with. Please pray for Ken's healing and for the whole family as they re-settle in Germany after many years of service onboard the ships.
Nathaniel, Ken and their class mates (and Teacher)
Nathaniel and Ken with Miss Ginni (who was their pre-school teacher on the Anastasis but now works with the dental team)A smile.....
and a (sweaty) hug.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

3 Breaks in a row

If you are superstitious you may think that things happen in threes. If you play baseball you would be used to having three strikes before you're out. Well last week our family had three breaks, but praise God we are not out - though we may be a little down!

First our lap top died. Thankfully the hard drive is OK but we need a new pc to load the data onto (and of course the funds to get one)
Secondly (and most serious) Rachel-Elise broke her wrist! We would post photos of her getting her cast fitted but.......
Thirdly our camera got wet and now doesn't work anymore. Yes it was the nice new camera we got whilst in Tenerife, not the old cranky one we've had for 5 years! Typical

So not a great week last week for the Clan.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting Ahead

Last week two of our teachers kept their commiment to have their heads, chins and legs shaved. They did it to help raise money for an educational trip for all our academy staff to Kenya. There they met with other teachers from International schools and learnt not only how we can improve the educational experience for our children onboard, but also that we were doing most of what we needed to be doing anyway.
How much did they raise? Over $1000 for the shaving and a grand total enough to cover all their expenses. Now that's commitment!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

School Retreat

Last weekend Iona and the rest of year 6-12 went on a 2 day school retreat 'Up North'. They stayed at the local YWAM base, ate african food (yummy) and swam in a waterfall. These are the things that memories are made of.....

Nutella chocolate spread on bread - very african!!
Oh yes - and it's still rainy season here so they got wet as well!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Skool Piks

Another year gone and another set of School Pictures for us to look at and wonder how did the kids get so big so quick? Notice the new academy Polo Shirts with Logo! They only have one shirt each so they stay in the drawer waiting for special occasions - so we haven't moved to an official uniform yet (unfortunately).
Here is the whole Academy with teachers (and a Land Rover)

And of course the three munchkins.........

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Presidential visit

Last week the President of Togo came to the M/V Africa Mercy to see what we're doing for himself. It's always an honour to have a head of state visit and an amazing amount of preparation was done by many onboard to make the visit possible with very little notice.
Dr Gary shows Don Stephens and the President of Togo around the hospital, and introduces them to one of our patients who has a large facial tumour.
Don Stephens made a presentation to the President of a limited edition print of the Africa Mercy. You can see Rob in the white shirt (by the man with the green beret).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Munchies

Easter onboard is always special, with the crew focussing on the risen Christ and the impact that He has on our lives. We had services on Good Friday and two on Easter Sunday (sunrise and morning). We also had a special Easter Brunch on Sunday which was amazing. Not only was there a great selection of fruit to enjoy, but also these rather vicious looking fish as well!

I stuck to the fruit!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Experiencing Work AFM style

The High and Junior High School pupils have just fiinished a few days of work experience onboard.
Rachel-Elise chose to work in our library which is quite fitting as she's probably read most of the books in there!
Iona chose to help teach the Kindergarten and Grade 1 children and had a great time cutting, sticking and colouring (I thought it was WORK experience?).
We hosted Kim Anna (a year TWELVE student) in our office. She learnt all about Fire Panels, security systems, embarking/disembarking crew members and also how to update the crew database whilst eating M&M's, yoghurt and chocolate bars. Multi-tasking is always a valuable skill:-) (Apologies to Kim Anna whom I demoted to year 9 in my original text - just goes to show how much extra help I really need!!)