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Liberia (2005-2006)

Oct 28.-  The ship arrived in Monrovia, Liberia today after a ten day sail that was the most uneventful in my 15 years of sailing.
We saw a fishing boat, a whale, & a pod of 100 or so dolphins. Oh, well-a boring sail beats the alternative. On the dock waiting
for us was a crowd that included many local dignitaries, Senior UN personnel, and several local churches, who performed a few
songs and traditional dances for us. I, however, was too busy to photograph any of this,...so you'll have to take my word for it.

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Oct.30- Errr...Went to the beach today...It wasn't very exciting, but I got 2 good pics.


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Nov.4/5-  Jon , Quentin, and I got to do some diving today.  We had to rig up a couple of big tires to prevent the ship from rubbing
against 2 dolphins, about 4 meters below the waterline. Jon saw a giant grouper on Thursday, & we all managed to get stung by jellyfish
 Friday.  I also got a scratch from some rusty plate jutting out....Rusty metal? Filthy harbor? Jellyfish? It's not just a job,  it's an adventure.


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Nov.7-11- Sorry, not too many photos this week. Liberia held it's first ever democratic election, and tensions
ran a bit high. Shore leave was cancelled all week, preventing us from leaving the ship. And The winner? Ellen
Johnson Sirleaf-Africa's first woman President ever to be elected. Here are a few photos in & around Monrovia.


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Nov.13- Today we attended church at 'Mama Victoria's'. Victoria is a large Liberian woman who runs an orphanage in Liberia. We had an
exciting colorful service, after which we spent an hour or so playing the kids. The deck department will be taking on the orphanage as a
project. Tomorrow we will be discussing what we do, from building a roof on their chapel and digging a well. The kids were loud, full of
energy, and happy for the attention, as children will be. The parents have been lost to AIDS, civil war, neglect, and many other tragedies.


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One of the most interesting features of Liberia is the signs. Everywhere you look
are quirky signs whose messages range from reminding the populace not to 'sell
their vote' to warnings about  AIDS, corruption and overloading your vehicle.  I
loved them so much I've started a collection, pulling over and snapping a photo
of the ones that catch my interest.  At bottom left is the HQ of the 'DailyTalk', a
local rabble-rousing periodical who use their giant chalkboard to air their 'gripe
of the moment', keeping the government officials on their toes. At bottom right
is a tragic reminder of the effects of the 14-year civil war that ended last year.

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Nov.25- Fire drill today. Our drills consist of suiting up and fighting an imaginary fire somewhere on board, and a 'competition'
between us & Fire Team 2,  which we always seem to win. After today's drill, we decompressed with a quick game of Two-stick
 Cricket on the Aft Deck.  The British and Aussies had a good laugh watching the Yanks try to apply our baseball skills to Cricket.


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Dec.2-  The Deck Dept. project is in full swing.  We spent the morning at Mama Vic's.  Egbert, Ou Han / Dong Gyu & I
finished putting a roof on the chapel, while Drew & Gordon put a coat of paint on the schoolroom.  Kim and Katie played
with the kids, which kept them entertained & out of our hair.  We are also adding on a new 'wing' which will consist of 4
rooms, which can be used for both sleeping and for classes.  Oregon's own Johnny Leischner is coordinating the project.
 
 
 

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Dec.9- . Our Friday morning was spent at Mama Vic's, finishing up the roof, painting the classrooms, building the new dorms,
and preparing new door frames.  We always have a few spots left over,  and open those to whomever would like to come. We  
were joined this week by crewmembers from IT, administration, food service, and medical, transforming the Deck Department
project into an 'inter-departmental project. The kids find our tools endlessly fascinating, so we're constantly on the search for
where they've disappeared to. For lunch we drove to Elwa Beach.  We'll return Friday to finish up the doorframes and painting.

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Dec.12-  Interesting night. A rally by supporters of George Weah turned into a
violent riot, and police had to use tear gas to disperse the crowd. 'King' George
didn't  help matters,  spouting rhetoric like  'Revolution is a  noble cause'  and
vowing to stop the inauguration. Two of our vehicles were returning to the ship
and stumbled upon a road littered with rocks and overturned vehicles. Several
rocks were thrown at them, though nobody was hurt. They took asylum in the
UN HQ, which was luckily nearby. They were there most of the night, 5 of our
vehicles in all, finally getting home around 3 am, when the UN declared it safe.
11 UN vehicles were overturned, and several other N.G.O. (Non-Governmental
Organization, i.e. Mercy Ships) vehicles were likewise attacked. Our curfew is
back in effect, and we're not allowed to travel outside the gate except for official
business. UN gunships have been circling the skies ever since, and everyone's
weekend plans may get canceled. Keep us in your prayers. Some links below...
Reuters story      BBC  story       IRIN news.org      AllAfrica.com

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Dec. 23-  The Deck Department celebrated Christmas at Mama Victoria's orphanage in
the country, one of the sister orphanage's she has in addition to her main one in Monrovia.
We brought the kids gifts of flip-flops and donated toys, as well as some cookies we baked.
Many of the kids from her city orphanage were brought over in a minibus & they competed
against the country kids in kickball, races, and soccer. The kids also performed a traditional
African dance for us, and I played a bit with 'Reuben', the orphanages pet monkey. The
temperature was in the low '90's all day. The kids were thrilled and we all had a fantastic
time, though quite unlike the Christmas's I remember as a kid.  Especially the monkey.



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Christmas On Board- Christmas on board the Anastasis is a three week mishmash of foreign celebrations and traditions. 
The Dutch held a party Dec 5th, including a visit from Sinterklaas & his 'Zwarte Piet'.  We used one of the lifeboats for his
traditional arrival by boat. December 13th, The Scandanavians held a Santa Lucia festival on the aft deck, which included
singing and the traditional 'tomtenissar'. Our Julia Lindell played the part of Saint Lucy. We had an international caroling
night  Dec 14, with each nation singing Christmas carols ranging from Canada to Korea.  I joined the Spanish-speakers
(all two of them) for a chorus of  'Feliz Navidad'.  A door decorating competition was held,  with deck department using
 cargo hatch 3 to display a 25-foot Christmas tree we constructed from tarps, pallets, trashbins & our tools as ornaments. 
 We were disqualified...again.  Apparently,...a cargo hatch still can't be considered a 'door'.  Anyways, the kids onboard
also put on a nativity play each year, and a Christmas ball is usually held, with dancing on the aft deck until midnight or
so. A formal Christmas feast is held on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve,  we observe the Dutch tradition of leaving your
shoes outside your door, which are then filled with cookies, candies & small gifts. Strangely, Liberians seem to celebrate
the holiday wearing crazy costumes and masks, as we've seen many of them around town the past few days. Below are
pictures of some of the activities onboard, as well as Deck department's beautiful 'tree', which surely deserves 1st Place.
 

       

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Dec.27-  Last night a mob attacked and beat a man to death just down the street.
The body stayed there for two days. I was riding by on a scooter this morning &
stopped to ask what happened. I got a one word answer- 'rogue'. 'Rogue' is an
African term meaning thief or criminal, & most West Africans have little patience
for the rogues among them. Mob violence is fairly common. By the marks on the
body, I could tell it was a savage beating. There was a good crowd the first day,
but by the second, no one even gave it a second glance. Just another dead body
on the streets of Monrovia, only 100 yards down the street from our main gate.


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Dec.29- A group of 9 of us drove out to the Firestone Plantation. Rubber is Liberia's chief export, and boasts the world's
biggest rubber tree plantation, about a million or so acres large, about 4% of the country's land area. Firestone built the
plantation  in 1926, and some of the buildings actually date back to the '40's and '50's. Rubber trees are scored in a spiral
down the tree, and the sap is collected in small cups and hauled to the plant, where it's ground up,  then shipped to other
countries to be turned into tires. Rubber harvesters receive about $3 per day, though they take advantage of the housing,
schools, and clinics built by Firestone. Nonetheless, they are currently involved in a lawsuit that alleges 'slave-like working
conditions' for it's people.  I have to be honest, though...It certainly looked better than the rest of Liberia to me.

 

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Dec.30-
We have the opportunity to 'adopt' a patient on board the Anastasis, & I recently did this. My patient was Richard Richardson,
a 36-year-old mechanic from here in Monrovia. He had an egg-sized tumor that had been growing on his neck for 10 years, and had it
removed on the 21st.  I spent time visiting him each day, and met his wife and two kids when they came for a visit. He was fairly shy,
but when the conversation turned around to football, he lit right up. He's a big fan, and never misses a game.  Manchester United is his
favorite team, and his son, Rene, is named after his favorite player. He was discharged today, so I drove him home, met his boss and
neighbors, and got a tour of his neighborhood, Claratown. He's returning this Saturday for a check-up.  Keep Richard in your prayers.


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Dec. 31-  I've been blessed with the use of a Piaggio TPH 50 scooter while my friend Trevor is on vacation. I've been riding
all over Monrovia, exploring every inch of the city. I've really gotten to know the city,  which is nice if you can look past the
poverty. Every street you go down seems to have something strange& exciting on it.  Among some of the many things I've
seen are a garage made of car doors & hoods,  the Ronald Reagan Institute, homes/shops made out of shipping containers,
Refugee camps, several African parades, and  the 'Temple of Justice', although the Superfriends were nowhere to be found.

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Jan.22- We played a football match against a local church today. After clearing the field of cement blocks & other debris,
us & a few of our dayworkers joined together to beat the locals 5-2. I drove the scooter down to Elwa Beach to watch the
match.  About two to three hundred locals & a half dozen UNMIL personnel stopped  to watch the excitement. The match
looked suspiciously like exercise to me, so I stayed on the roof of one of the Land Rovers and watched. And took pictures. 

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March 11- The Ducor Palace project continues. Our carpentry shop onboard has offered to donate some wood,
and the plans right now are to construct around 15-20 benches and  four or so podiums/chairs for the teachers.
Currently, the kids are using a few old benches as desks & sitting on concrete blocks...or just sitting on the floor.

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March 18-- Prince came to the ship to help build benches with me. He spent the morning
with me in the carpentry shop, measuring, cutting, and sanding.  This helps him to claim
part 'ownership' of the project, as opposed to waiting for westerners to donate everything.
He thoroughly enjoyed himself, and wanted to stay, despite (as I found out), he'd been up
all night at his job as a security guard at a grocery store down on Randall Street. He returns
to the ship to continue working on the benches next Saturday. We've built 4 benches so far.

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March 24- Interesting day! Around 1 pm, we got a call to lower the Zodiac into the water,
as the abandoned barge at the end of our dock had some 'rogues' on it, scavenging what
they could. We took some Ghanaian UNMIL soldiers with us and headed for the barge. Right
away, three of them jumped into the water, but we quickly rounded them up and delivered
them to the soldiers waiting on the shore. Crewmembers watching from the stern reported
two more were hiding on the barge,  but  a  thorough search of the barge failed to uncover
anyone. Then, just as we were stowing the Zodiac onto the foredeck, we got the call that the
remaining  two swimmers had leapt into the water & were making a break for the next dock
over from us. Back in the water we went, but they made it to the dock next door before us.
Nonetheless,  we radioed to the UNMIL troops who were busy 'interrogating' the first three
prisoners, and they quickly sealed off the end of the dock. With nowhere to go, the rogues
had no choice but to surrender.  We found much evidence of illegal activities on the barge,
such as knives, fire extinguishers, a breathing apparatus or two, and some clipped locks &
cut wires. The rogues were basically trying to get anything off the barge they could to sell.
Upon capture,  they were more scared than anything,  thanks in part to our 'overzealous'
Ghurka security guard & the bamboo staff he kept trying to whack them with. I managed to
get some great shots of the whole operation. You know, I could use a few more days like this.
  


 

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Meet the Deck Department. We always have people coming
and going in Deck Department, so a group shot becomes obsolete
Within a week or two.  Nonetheless, this picture  is a pretty good
representation of us. It was taken February 14th, when we hosted
a 'deck dessert' night & served the crew some desserts we'd baked.


 

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March 29- Another busy day. We started out our day with an early morning fire
drill, which I'm sad to say we failed miserably. Immediately afterwards, the crew
mustered outside to view an eclipse. While Ghana had a total eclipse, we only had
a partial (83%). This was only the second eclipse I've ever seen. We spent most of
the day blasting portholes with a fire hose for the inspection coming up, and spent
the afternoon scraping the side of the ship. We were all abuzz with the news of the
capture of warlord & Ex-President Charles Taylor.  Security was tightened again in
town, and the UN gun ships are once again circling overhead. Despite heightened
security, we all went to the Royal Hotel to say farewell to our friend Scott Harrison.
 

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April 2- We took a trip to Bong Mines today. Once a thriving source of iron ore,the 14-year civil war has
turned it into a skeleton of it's former self.  The mines were evacuated in 1990 and never recovered. In the
center is a huge man-made lake, where rainwater has filled the quarry cut into the land. It reminded me of
the Lochs of Scotland, with a steep, lush mountain next to it,  steel blue-gray colored water, and a vertical
drop of 100-200 feet three steps away from shore.  The three hour trip to Bong was almost as exciting as 
the mines themselves,  especially the last 30 km, which took over an  hour to drive.  'Awful' isn't a strong
enough word to describe  the road conditions,  and  these few photos below do them little justice. Of no
help were the Liberians we  stopped to ask directions of.  Many had a different concept of time & distance
distance than us, if any at all.  Most amusing was the woman who,  when asked how much further along
the mines were, told us they were "Two minutes, maybe thirty minutes". We brought along scuba gear in
the hopes of getting a dive, but there wasn't enough time. Still, there are worse ways to spend a day than
driving through the African jungle. However,the presence of land mines kept us from exploring too much.
 


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April 7-  Today was the last day of work for our Segue students. 'Segue' is a program for college age kids onboard that involves a three month
lecture phase coupled with 2 months of outreach. They are also required to serve three half-days a week in various departments, so 3 afternoons
a week  I've had the pleasure of working alongside  the 5 students that chose the deck department.  No matter what I did, from sending them up
top to scrub the aft deck tarp to putting them on our unstable, leaky paint float to scrape algae off the side of the hull, they attacked each task with
enthusiasm and energy.  They kept high standards for their work, and the ship is in better shape than it was as a result.  They enjoyed painting so
much,  they even did it when I wasn't around. We rewarded their efforts today with an extended Zodiac ride  in the harbor. They leave next week
for the 2-month outreach phase of the program, which will be spent in Ghana. They are excited about the outreach, and are probably happy they'll
never have to sand the promenade decks again.  I will miss their teamwork and their joyful spirits. At the upper left is a group shot of them. From
left, there is  Mike Nagel, Plano, TX, Heidi Snow,  from the IOC in Texas, Johanna Beachy, from the great state of New Hampshire, Mary Edmonds,
from the UK, and finally Rebecca Brundage, from Maine. Heidi's dad worked for Mercy Ships, & she spent a year on the CBM when she was twelve.


    

 

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April 11- One of the different things we get to do onboard the Anastasis is view the surgeries that take place here. I'd been meaning
to sign up for it the past few months, & got my chance yesterday. I saw a hernia operation, a cataract removal,and a 'maxio-facial'. A
maxio-facial is an enlarged tumor on the head or face, and is probably the most common operation we perform on the Anastasis, &
the most life-changing. The patient had a baseball-sized tumor that had overgrown his chin so bad, his whole chin had to be removed
& rebuilt. They sliced open the skin, then peeled it back like a banana, all the while cauterizing it to stop the bleeding. After two hours
of this, they removed it and used titanium strips to reshape the jaw. The hernia was a rather boring operation, but the cataract removal
was easily the most fascinating of the three. They actually slice open the 'film' covering the eyeball, cut around the cornea, and pull out
the cataract, all using a microscope. Here are some pictures of the maxio-facial. Hope you have a strong stomach, they're pretty gross.

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As Seen On TV-  Documentary-maker Bill Kurtis was here several months
  ago to film a  documentary about the Anastasis,  to be shown on several 
US cable outlets, primarily the Total Living Network. It will be seen there &
other channels  the next few days. For a list of times & networks, click here

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Holy Week- The ship was 'on holiday' from Thursday the 13th until Monday the 17th. I spent the first two days of my
vacation finishing Mercy School's benches. I unloaded them from the ship & varnished them on the dock. Saturday, I
had to 'work' again, by taking the Harboe's out in the Zodiac. They had won a 2-hour ride during a fund-raiser we had
last week so we took them up the St. Paul river a few kilometers and returned. We saw some beautiful sights along the
river and giant houses along the shore. Easter was spent with Prince, as I attended church with him for his churches 4th
anniversary. I spent Monday decompressing  by zipping around  on the scooter all day.  All in all, a pretty good week.
   
 

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Friday, April 14- Today I finished the benches for the Mercy School. Prince showed up just as I
was finishing. We loaded the flatbed, gathered a group together and headed to the Ducor. When
we arrived, the kids fought over who would get to carry them up to the school. Prince and I took
the last bench up ourselves. I had been worried about there being enough benches, but God was
working in advance, and a local AME church delivered ten benches they had made the day before!
The 'Mercy School' has gone from a couple dozen kids showing up for occasional lessons to a 100-
student strong school, one complete with 7 teachers, 5 chalkboards, & more than enough seating
for all.  At the bottom right is a picture of the finished project, along with it's intended recipients. 
On behalf of the children and parents of the Mercy School, I'd like to say a very sincere thank you
to all who helped make this project a reality, either physically, financially, or spiritually. Bless you!



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April 20-23- A bit of a long weekend. We spent all of Friday underneath the water, as the ship needed a bit of cleaning below the surface.
After 6 hours of diving and scraping, I was wiped out. I spent most of Saturday at the beach relaxing,  but early Sunday morning I was
woken by news of a group of 'rogues' who managed to make it onto our dock and steal a half dozen oil drums.  We launched the Zodiac,
rounding up 2 of the rogues & 5 of the oil drums. Looks like I'll be beefing up security on the dock Monday. Sunday night we said goodbye
to my friend Kevin Fryatt, who's been incountry for a year, serving as Financial & Planning Officer with Equip, another NGO here in Liberia.
 I visited his house which was located at Silver Beach and got to see the 'Equip zoo', complete with dogs, a duiker, a crocodile, 7 even an
actual tame mongoose, which was fun to play with until it got sick on my arm. About twenty or so of us headed to the beach for a farewell
dinner for him. Kevin is part of the small but active N.G.O. community here, and there were friends of his there from Samaritan's Purse,
Equip, Global University, and others. Kevin has also maintained a fantastic blog about his time in Liberia.  He heads back to Vancouver,
British Columbia this Thursday sometime . Rogue captures and mongoose vomit made this a much more interesting weekend than most.



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April 24-
As we near the end of our time in Liberia, the criminal element is taking advantageof that to step up the 'attacks' against us.
Robberies in town have increased, & we are also seeing a rise in 'swimmers'-rogues who try to sneak onto our dock to steal what they
can. Crewmembers now travel in groups, usually with a male in the group,  and avoid downtown after dark. We also avoid taxis, as
several of our number have been robbed right in the taxi.  Our Security Officer Mark Elliott bought a couple more rolls of razor wire,
and we spent the ay stringing it around likely access points onto the dock. Razor wire costs $60 for a 25 foot roll, and is as common
in Liberia as white picket fences in the states. We discovered that the 'mastermind'  behind the attempted thefts on our docks is an
ex-LURD  rebel who claims to have been on our dock many times.  The LNP (Liberia's police force)  knows him well and  has been
looking for him for some time. All this keeps Mark on his toes, not easy for someone his size. View his blog here to see the sort of
security issues we deal with daily in Liberia.  Here below are  pictures of us stringing wire, and a shot of some swimmers in 'action'.
 

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April 28- The Jesus film is one of the many ministries we have on board the Anastasis. It's a
two hour film showing the life of Jesus, based upon the Gospel of Luke. Filmed in 1978, it has
been translated into over nine hundred languages and shown to almost 5.5 billion people. It is
often followed by a short word and an altar call. We had intended to show ours outdoors, and
the crew at the Ducor spent the day getting the viewing area ready, but a half hour before we
left, a torrential downpour started, and didn't let up for most of the night. Undeterred, we set
up shop in the Mercy School and showed the film on the wall.  About 300 or so people were
in attendance. I remember watching the movie at my church when it first came out, and we
screened it often when I was in Nicaragua on the Caribbean Mercy in 1996. It was nice to see
it in English again. The crowd cheered when Jesus first appeared onscreen, and again every
time He performed a miracle. Their favorite scene seems to have been the 'loaves and fishes'
miracle, judging by the applause, and it was funny to hear the chattering and gasps that came
from the crowd when Satan appeared as a serpent to Jesus in the desert. We plan to show
'Jesus' again later this month. Hopefully it will be outside, if the weather cooperates this time.

 

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May 4- Chris Hondros is an award-winning photographer with Getty Images. While his work is broad in
scope,  his specialty is combat photography, and he has covered most of major conflicts in the past few
years, including Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and, of course, Liberia. His work here during the conflict in
2003 earned him a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. Chances are, if you've seen startling images of the
Liberian civil war, they were taken by Hondros. While copyright law prevents me from displaying his
photos here, they really are incredible. To view these images, visit Chris Hondros' website.

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May 11- With only 2 or 3 weeks left to go in Liberia, we have started loading everything back onto the ship. Everyone's
wrapping up their respective projects and re-stowing their equipment before the sail. I suspect the deck department will
have  its hands full until we leave. We had our hands full today, as our shakyloading caused a palette to go into the drink.
We had to lower the Zodiac for a spot of 'cargo roundup'. We hauled them all into the Zodiac, but about half the boxes
were ruined.  After loading operations were done,  us divers suited up for a final work-dive,  this time scraping over an
inch of barnacles off the propeller. All this made for an interesting day, but not as interesting as the dental department's.
 

 

May 12- You Know you're in West Africa When...Someone shows up at the dentist's office you work at & tries to sell you a live crocodile.

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May 17- A half dozen or so deckhands spent the afternoon at the Ducor Palace cleaning up.
We brought along buckets, shovels, brooms, and a wheelbarrow. As soon as we arrived, the
kids fought over who would get a tool, but once the tools were sorted out, they attacked the
dirt with a vengeance. It was funny to see them shoveling the dirt from place to another...not
in the wheelbarrow we provided, of course. With some leadership and gentle persuasion, their
energies were focused on the job at hand. Mounds of rubble were removed, piles of dirt carted
away, and the remaining mess swept up, and the puddles of filthy water drained. They now
have more room for the children inside. This is really good, as the area they play now is filthy
beyond belief, with human waste, garbage, and even dead rats. A good farewell for the Ducor!


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May 20- Today was by far the best day I have spent while in Liberia. We took 3 Land Rovers
and 50 people back up to Bong Mines. We loaded up the trucks onto a flatbed of a train that
runs there daily, spent 5 hours at the lake, scuba diving and cliff jumping, then took the train
back.  Best of all was the train ride, where we allowed to actually ride up on top of the Land
Rovers there and back, giving us a stunning view of the countryside. Surrounded by friends,
with the sun bright & the wind in our hair, we spent an awesome 2 hours on top of the train,
passing through tiny villages and massive jungles. I cooked a creole the night before, so we
ate in style. The diving was dull, but the cliff jumping made up for it. Pictures posted below-

Some friends and I cooked a chicken and lobster creole the night before, so we'd have
something good to eat there. Great fun, but the late-night crazies took over after awhile.


Bright and early saw us at the train station a mile down the road. We loaded our
cars pretty quick, and spent the next hour or so waiting for the train to depart.


The train ride was by far the best part of the whole day. A two-hour trek through the African jungle perched on top of the
Land Rovers. We all got sunburned, but no one could bring themselves to leave the view. Everyone took a turn riding on
the Rovers, and the two hour trip seemed to pass way too fast. I even took in a nap up on the roof, as can you see...




Upon our arrival, we headed straight for the lake, which is a quarry that's been filled by years of rain water. We set up a tarp we'd brought,
pulled out the food, and all jumped  in the water for some much-deserved fun.  We swam out to some cliffs close to the 'beach'  and took
turns jumping from about 25-30 feet up. Due to the loose, sharp rocks (it's a quarry, after all), we all cut our feet-some worse than others.
This didn't dampen our spirits, though, and some of us even managed to get in a quick dive, though the view down there was 'uneventful'.


 


After one more picture, we headed to the station. Even a flat tire couldn't lessen our enthusiasm
for the train ride home...our jack was broken, but we had enough manpower to do without it.



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Liberian Signs-My Favorites- Since we're getting to the end of our time in Liberia,
I thought I'd post a few of my favorites among the many 'Liberian Signs' I've captured
on film.  From warnings about public urination & rice (bizarrely), to reminders about
HIV/AIDS, endangered species, and not 'stuffing the child'  to the Junior High School
named after Charles Taylor (of all people) these are the best of the bunch, in my book.
    



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May 29- The last couple days have been spent loading. Loading containers, loading cars, loading supplies, and anything else.
I got to spend Sunday night at the Ducor,saying goodbye. God rewarded us with a fantastic sunset, and the staff of the Mercy
School got together to thank me. Monday saw us back to the grind, loading what was left, and strapping everything down in
preparation for the sail.  A long, hard day,...but the UN tank (well,...APC anyways) that showed up on our dock at suppertime
did a good job of lifting everyone's spirits. We all grabbed our camera & headed for the dock. The APC, which was under the
control of the Ghana contingent of UNMIL, stayed there the whole night. Our own Mark Elliott  put it together. Thanks Mark!

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May 30- Departure Day! We got up at 6 AM and began loading the few remaining items left on the dock. 
After a 0745 'muster drill', we were ready to go.  Quentin, Greenfield and I were the last on the dock, as
we had to hook up the ships gangway. After the gangway was loaded, they sent down a basket to get us,
and that was the last things the Liberians saw, my goofy face in midair, waving goodbye, and shouting
"Thank You, Liberia! God Bless you all!". A crowd had gathered outside the gate, waiting to see their
friends from Mercy Ships one last time. They opened the gate at 8, and the crowd poured in. My friends
from the Ducor Palace came out & saw us off.  There were, of course, many tearful goodbyes, as some
were saying goodbye for the last time. At 0937, the last line was thrown off, & we are now Ghana-bound.

 

 

For Earlier news, Including our time in South Africa, click HERE.