Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back to blogging our adventures with Mercy Ships

Brief summary: We started our Mercy Ships' journey in June 2009 with Ray and I traveling to Texas to take an Introductory Class on Mercy Ships. In June 2010 we traveled again to Texas with our daughters Deborah and Anna to attend a 4 week Gateway training to start our service with Mercy Ships. We flew to Benin in July 2010 to complete our two week Field Service with our Gateway class. 30 July 2010 we arrived at the m/v Africa Mercy (in Togo) where we have lived for the past 3 years. Since we have joined the m/v Africa Mercy, the ship has traveled to South Africa (for shipyard), Sierra Leone, Ghana (for a brief rest between field services), Togo, Canary Islands (for shipyard), Guinea, Canary Islands (for shipyard) and is now sailing to Congo for our next field service. We have been to the states twice in the past two years and just recently arrived back on the ship. Now that you are all caught up to date... Here is the lovely view we had for the past week in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
Deborah and her two of her friends were watching Teodoro Mylonas play his cornet for the m/v Africa Mercy as we were getting ready to leave.
Anna and a few of her friends were enjoying some of the many hammocks that were strung up on Deck 7 in preparation for the sail.
Teodoro Mylonas plays hymns on his cornet as we sail away from the port.
4 hours into the sail and we can still see the mountains of Tenerife behind us as we sail to the south.
Our first sunset of the sail is stunning.
Just a reminder of what one bedroom in a 490 square foot cabin looks like. Actually I just cleaned the girls' room and wanted to remind them of what it looks like when everything is picked up. I took this picture from the doorway.
As we travel to Congo over the next 12 to 13 days you can follow our journey on facebook, instagram and twitter: #SailWithUs and #MercyShips and #africamercy

Thursday, July 4, 2013

We are still here!

After taking an 18 month hiatus I am going to try to resurrect the family blog with help from Deborah and Anna. Both girls have offered to post on occasion so stay tuned as we get ready to rejoin the m/v Africa Mercy in the Canary Islands NEXT WEEK after 5 months in the states.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review: December 2011

December started with Deborah's 10th birthday and she decided to have a mystery party.

All of her classmates showed up in disguise and then had to solve the mystery of the missing star (from our treetop). 10 is a big deal on the ship. It means you can serve yourself in the dining room and it means you can be unsupervised on the ship!

That same week we left Sierra Leone after 9.5 months there and set sail for Tema, Ghana. One of the signs of imminent departure is looking out the window and seeing a Land Rover hovering in mid-air as it's being loaded up onto deck 8!

During the sail the girls' dance class performed "Winter Wonderland" at the ship's Winter Wonderland which is like a small craft market set up in mid-ships.

The girls performed in the Academy's annual Christmas musical and then before we knew it it was Christmas morning. One of the traditions on the ship is that you place one of your shoes outside your cabin door on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas morning it is filled with all sorts of goodies. The girls and I enjoyed putting goodies in other people's shoes on Christmas Eve and we all enjoyed finding goodies in our shoes on Christmas morning!

After we got dressed Ray (aka Daddy) read the Christmas story from the Bible.

Presents beneath the tree...

This past week the girls and I had a chance to visit the Cedi Bead Factory. It was a lot of fun watching the beads being made and then we had a chance to design our own beads!

Here are some of the finished products in the gift store made by Mr. Cedi and his staff.

Merry Christmas 2011 and Happy New Year 2012 from the Szareks!!!

A Year in Review: September/October/November 2011

Here is one of the many gorgeous sunsets looking out our cabin window.

This is one way we set up our family cabin for me to teach music. I measured our cabin with my trusty tape measure just to see what the dimensions are and this is what I got: 14 feet wide and 35 feet long (includes two bedrooms, bathroom, living/dining room and kitchenette) for a total of 490 square feet :-)

On one of our ship holidays a few of us took our kids out for a mini field trip to a local museum in Freetown. The kids are standing in front of the life size mannequins dressed in their Secret Society costumes. We would see the Secret Society groups often in the streets. Anna was really loving the heat in this picture and was wishing she was someplace cool!

And this was the traffic on the way home which is why it took 1.5 hours to go 5km.

We had the privilege of attending Greg and Becca's wedding here in Freetown.


A Year in Review: July/August 2011

We had the opportunity to stay at a hotel in Freetown one weekend and really enjoyed ourselves. The view was spectacular!

And the pools were lovely.

The kids were soon busy with Summer Program and since I was helping with the Preschoolers, I was able to go on some of the field trips too. The Chimp Sanctuary was a lot of fun as long as you stayed out of reach of the stones they were throwing!

The kids loved seeing the baby with its Momma. Can you see it?

Here are all the Summer Program kids getting ready to hike up to Charlotte Falls.

Can you see the Falls? Anna was manning the camera during this excursion. Good job, Anna!

Getting closer...

and closer...

We made it!!!

Isn't Charlotte Falls beautiful?

The end of August meant that Anna turned 7 years old! Here she is with her Princess Tiana cake made by one of our friends here on the ship.

And here are all the girls ages 2-13 at Anna's princess party.

A Year in Review: May/June 2011 Part Three

And finally it is the last day of school! We had a special ceremony where the kids advanced to their next grade level and received a certificate.

And now its time to head to the beach! But it takes 1.5 hours to get there and this is some of what we see.

Ahhh, we made it! The beaches are absolutely lovely here in Sierra Leone as long as you can ignore the vultures, goats, garbage, and mangy (but cute) puppies roaming around.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Year in Review: May/June 2011 Part Two

One of our visits to the Hope Center. I got to hold this sweet little boy.

Anna playing with the children.

Deborah with her Mercy Ships classmates playing with the children.

And a special honor...Deborah was chosen to present the Vice President of Sierra Leone with flowers when he and his wife were visiting the M/V Africa Mercy.