Where does the time go?

It feels as though this week went by in a flash, and so much has happened – more new people, new places, and a visit to the beach yesterday with a lovely Dutch family also volunteering on board. I also got bitten (by a mosquito?) in the crease of my right eye – I mean really?! Who would put Tabard or Peaceful Sleep that close to their eyes?

There are currently six South African’s onboard. One of them is plastic surgeon, Dr Tertius Venter, who is doing reconstructive surgery (for burn survivors and orofacial clefts). He has a fascinating story and also volunteers for other organisations. There is a lot of information available about him on the internet if you’d like to know more.

Unfortunately the hospital is off limits for the blog, so I can’t take you down there. However, there are a number of videos and story features on the Mercy Ships website that you can watch. If you’re keen to see more on the remarkable healthcare that is happening on board, click on ‘remarkable healthcare’ a few words back.

Today I’ll be taking you on a picture tour of the ship, to give you an idea of the communal areas on board. I got up extra early for today’s blog, as I wanted to capture the areas without people in them. It’s not usually this quiet, but I thought it may be awkward if I pop someone on my blog, who’d rather not be there. It’s kind of a clumsy layout, but I’m sure that you’ll get some of the picture.

Let’s start with Madiba…




I’m not sure when late President Nelson Mandela visited Africa Mercy, but I love the photograph to the left of his, where Gracia Machel is looking back at his photograph. These photographs are on Deck 4, one level down from reception, and I see it every day after I ‘knock off’ from work.
This is the reception area. To the left of the TV is the door to the office I share with two Media Liaisons and Andrea, who has been doing all the writing work since the beginning of this field service in Senegal.
There are a lot of stairs in the ship… the blue ones are at the back of the ship (aft) and the red ones are at the front (forward)


This is one of the library rooms – I think you’ll get why I like it here.
This is the cafe area. On the right hand side of the counter you’ll see some pastries. Some of the volunteers raise money towards their crew fees by baking pastries, so there are treats available to buy most days, even when Starbucks is closed.
This is one side of the cafe area where a lot of volunteers have lunch or meetings, or make calls back home. There is a piano under the stairs, and I heard someone playing today. It was lovely!
This is the dining room, where we have three meals Monday to Friday, and breakfast and dinner on weekends. They put out lunch stuff for us to put away on Saturday and Sundays.
This is the buffet. For lunch and dinner there is always a cooked meal (meat, veg and starch) and salads available. For breakfast it’s a broad selection of hot and cold.
This is the International Lounge where the bigger get togethers take place, including Operations Meeting on a Monday morning, a medical lecture on Wednesdays and a church service on Sunday evenings.
This is an area called “Midships” which where a lot of people hang out and chill. There is also a TV and a small ‘internet cafe’ area. Remember the stairs going up from the cafe area? Well that’s where they lead. That corner is where I mostly have my breakfast… yes, it’s still dark outside 🙂


And finally, my weekly mental health check: I’m feeling more and more settled and at home, and less like a visitor. I’m also getting much better at performing the top-bunk entrance and exit manoeuvres, and have not hit my head on the fire sprinkler mounted to the ceiling this week. That’s real progress!



  1. Avatar

    Hi Chrissi thanks for your latest update. Receiving your your blog this afternoon is an exciting end to an otherwise boring Sunday afternoon. I’d like to hear some more about the beaches and later on I’m sure you’ll tell us all about life as you experience it outside the ship. Having lived in West Africa, I’m always interested in the goings on up there. Take care.

  2. Avatar

    So good to hear from you. The tour very interesting…. what a change for you but I have no doubt is a great adventure… making me really think this is something I would like to be part of.

    1. Chrissi Maria

      Come join me Fiona, even for a little while! Medical staff doesn’t have to commit for long term, and many of the other departments also accept shorter term volunteers. You can maybe even come over just for a few weeks!

  3. Avatar

    The ship looks comfortable and sorry to hear about the mosquito and your eye, I heard scientists are trying to get rid of them, no use for them in this world

  4. Avatar

    Thanks Chrissi! This is very interesting. Do you know exactly where you’re going in the near future or do they go where they’re needed most?

    1. Chrissi Maria

      Thanks Susan 🙂 Right now we’ll be in the Port of Dakar till beginning of June. Then I need to go to Texas for five weeks for training, and then back to the ship, which will be in Las Palmas in the shipyard getting ready for the next field service. We are supposed to go to Liberia next, but I’m not hundred per cent sure of this yet, but we’ll know soon! Maybe even this morning at the Operations Meeting…

  5. Avatar

    So glad to see that you are in a lovely ship. Thank you for keeping us informed. This is awesome! Worth it. So sorry about the mozie bite, try not to scratch.🤗🤗

    1. Chrissi Maria

      It is pretty lovely! And the food is good to. Just need a patch of green grass to sink my bare feet/toes into, and a ground level double bed… and i’ll be happy as Larry 😉

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