I’m here

After three flights (Joburg to Dubai, Dubai to Conakry, Conakry to Dakar) and three hours in traffic from airport to ship, I arrived on Friday night, safe and sound. It felt strange walking up Africa Mercy’s gangway – especially as I have seen it featured in many of the videos that I’ve watched these past few months.

 After a quick welcome and photograph, I was given my ID card and shown to my cabin – which is a four berth, with a small bathroom and communal area. It’s pretty tiny and will take some getting used to but luckily, as I discovered on my tour this morning, there are a lot of places on the ship to find a little quiet time.

I took my time unpacking and making my nest, as I want to be sure I’ll find whatever I need to, quickly. Even small places can become bottomless pits of mystery when there is no order (yes, that is the German version of me speaking). The person who was here before me left a lot of hangers in the cupboard, and after hanging up my super-downsized wardrobe, I’m still left with many. I doubt I’ll be needing them, so will take these to the ship boutique next week (sounds grand doesn’t it. I’ll let you know more after my visit).

At the moment I’m sitting in the library, which I think may just become one of my favourite places – it’s so quiet and peaceful, you wouldn’t think there are about three-hundred odd volunteers milling around somewhere on board. The most ‘congestion’ I’ve experienced so far is in the dining room at mealtimes, but it’s early days. There is a café area, a Starbucks and a ship shop, all of which I’ll share more about once I use these facilities.

There is also a gym downstairs, as well as a pool on deck 8, which I’ll probably visit for an occasional dip when it gets really hot, even though the air-conditioned ship feels rather pleasant. I’m taking doxycycline as a malaria prophylaxis, and apparently it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, so another reason not to sunbathe. If this is the only side-effect I have to contend with, I’ll be over the moon! It’s still early days, so for more on that developing story, you’ll have to journey with me a little while longer!

During my 24-hour journey I was able to reflect on ‘things’ in a different way than before. I know exactly where and what I’ve come from, and of course I’m sad to have left so much behind. The future holds a large element of the unknown and I think it’s only human to be a wee bit daunted. My Mercy Ships knowledge is based on the communication materials put out by the organisation, the research I’ve done and the conversations I’ve had with only a handful of crew members. Now it’s finally time to form opinions based on personal experience, and I’m looking forward to writing from this new perspective.

It’s an exciting time, but yesterday, when I couldn’t remember my mercyships.org email password, I had a moment of “What have I done!?” Then my password came back to me and I opened my emails to find a story lead from my new boss. The doubt disappeared.

Everything else may be new to me but writing…that I think I can do!




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    Wow the journey is finally here! Thinking of you lots and I wish you positivity, new friendships and kindness over the coming while, especially during adjustment and at some stage when missing home/family/friends.

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    Thanks for sharing Chrissi. I’m definitely going to follow you in your journey. Can’t wait to read about your experiences on the ship. God bless and be safe.

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    Like the water that is now your host, your grace will flow and fill hearts there, as it did here, and wherever you go in future.

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    Thank you for sharing the first chapter of your adventure into the unknown with us Chrissi. Looking forward to the next exciting chapter. God bless.

    1. Chrissi Maria

      Thanks Lizette! Go kuier with your brother a little in his new house. And make him cook you a five course meal on that gorgeous stove of his!!

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    Without the scribes there would be no ancient scripts and no bible today. Where would the world be if not for the scribes. You have only just begun to meet new horizons every day. May God bless and guide you Chrissi. What a great work

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    Thank you for sharing your experience with us!I can already see you sitting in the Library,then going to gym,after gym getting your starbucks and then write,write and write…..

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    You’re clearly a writer! As I read this it felt as though I was in the ship too. Sounds like you’re settling in nicely. Looking forward to more stories

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    Awww, my Chrissels. I had your voice on in my head, reading this beautiful post with it. It already sounds like a special place to be at. I cannot wait for all the glories our Father will open your eyes to.
    Keep writing my sister… Proud of you!

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    Dear Chrissi,
    Just had a look, expecting that meanwhile you had so many donors that you had reached your target and more – but what a disappointment! Surely people will be happy to put their money where there mouth is and support you gladly. Good luck with that and everything else, I hope you have settled on the ship and look forward to further “reports”. Big squeeze.

    1. Chrissi Maria

      Thank you Barbara! I’ll focus on the fundraising again as soon as I’ve settled in properly. In terms of reports, I plan to blog once a week, on a weekend. There is a lot to write, but I think I need to pace myself, as I don’t want you all to become fatigued!

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    Hi Chrissi, it sounds daunting but so exciting, looking forward to following your adventures in this chapter. (Fresh air and watching the horizon for dealing with sea sickness.). Sam

    1. Chrissi Maria

      Someone gave me motion sickness pills before I left SA, although the first time I will physically be sailing is on the way from Tenerife to Liberia in August! You’ll have to stick with me till then for a proper sailing story!

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