All Settled In and Starting To Mingle! Week 3 On The Africa Mercy Ship.
At last! We have our second update on life on board the Africa Mercy Ship which will eventually be visiting some of the most impoverished and neglected people of Africa. This post is a little different than the first because the ship is still in the shipyard (so there aren't patients on board yet). All my daily interactions are with the crew. But, the good news is that we are getting closer to field service everyday. This update will be primarily focused on the ship itself and the crew! Since most of you have never been to the Africa Mercy, it would be beneficial for me to show you all around!
The ship is basically split into three zones: Forward, Midship, and Aft. On the ship we don’t say left or right, we say port side or starboard side. Port side is the left side of the ship if you are facing the bow (the front of the ship). Starboard is, obviously, the other side. I’ll add a picture below to show where my favourite spots are in relation to the rest of the ship.
As for cabins, mine is forward at the bow of the ship which is the best place for a cool-loving Canadian such as myself. The forward on deck 4 is the coolest place on the ship. My roommate, Grace, is not a fan of this though! She is always bundled up with sweaters because it’s too cold for her. It all depends on where you come from and what your preferences are but for me, I am in love with it! There are just the two of us in the cabin for the next while. These smaller cabin numbers are quite nice for now during COVID since it prevents having 8 or 10-berth cabins full (I am in an 8-berth so I could eventually have 7 roommates living with me). Most of the cabins on board are 4 or 6-berth. There are only a few 8 and 10-berth cabins.
But that’s enough of the ship and cabins. All of that is settled so now the focus is on mingling with the crew. The first people you meet are those in the same department as you. Reception is a very small team which made it very easy to get to know them. As mentioned in the #My Day series, Fanny, Danita, and Jay-B are becoming some of my closer friends. Norma is also a receptionist and she is a sweetheart but she is just older than the rest of us so it’s harder to connect with her. Fanny and Danita are great because they are, like me, book people and enjoy Harry Potter. This week we held a Harry Potter night where we started watching the series. We only watched the first one since some of us had to get up early the following day. Hopefully we will watch one per week since it’s a fun way to hang out with each other.
Meeting people on board is like a virus spreading. One person leads you to meeting two more which then leads to four more. It’s exponential. Not to mention, church is another big factor in making friends and meeting crew. After the service the crew get together at the Starbucks café in midship. There the café and the baker have snacks and drinks for everyone to enjoy while they mingle. Last week there were seven of us chatting after the service. I sat down with the two I already knew and met 5 more crew! I learned about their lives now there is a bond which makes it easier to say hi or have a meal with them later on.
Day to day life is very different than at home but, honestly, very similar to living in residence at University. The only difference is you work instead of study! Your “home” is realistically the whole ship rather than just your cabin. The cabin is really just where you sleep and hangout when you want to be alone and that's it. Personally, I see it as if it were my room verses the whole house. The house is the ship and the cabin is the room which is kind of nice when you think about it! Having everything you could possibly need inside your house!
When you wake up in the morning you get dressed and go to the kitchen (dining room) to have breakfast like any other day. The perk is that you don’t have to cook your own breakfast! Everything is already done for you by the hard working galley staff! I don’t eat breakfast but it is still quite nice to have the option when I feel like it.
Most people go to work after that but if it’s a day off they can do anything from hang around the ship for the day or go ashore to town. There is also a social shuttle with various activities you can sign up for on days off or even just to get out after your work day is done. Here in Las Palmas the 6 activities people can sign up for are: Las Arenas (Shopping mall), Decathlon (Large Store), Botanical Gardens, Old Towne (the old parts of Las Palmas with museums), Village of Terror (Small village near by with hikes), and visiting the Volcano and hiking the crater. Each port has different activities to do so the crew tend to try and do each one a couple of times before departing the area. I personally won’t get to all of them more than once since I arrived later in the stay at Las Palmas.
If the crew aren’t on one of the activities or are not milling about ashore then they are usually found playing games in the midship lounge. This is usually where you can find me writing or reading! Midship is single handedly my favourite place on the ship. That might change now that the pool on deck 8 is open! The pool is really just an old shipping container painted and filled up. At least it’s something! The kids love to play there too which is really nice to see!
That’s about it for this week’s update. If you want to hear more about my daily life click the link to ready the #MyDay series. I write a letter to my viewers daily. By the end of my service I'll have a nice archive of all my adventures! Stay tuned for next week’s update post by subscribing below. The only emails subscribers receive are regarding new update posts once a week on Tuesdays.
Have a great week!