During our nine-day sail from Dubai to Sri Lanka, I was busy with orientation, training, and daily activities like morning devotions, worship and prayer meetings. During the sailing, I also participated in all kinds of different fun activities, such as: drama practices, a skit night, an Irish dancing night for St. Patrick's Day!, swing dancing, a coffeehouse, games, etc. And of course I spent a lot of time just chatting, getting to know people.
Shortly after we set sail, I learned about the devastation in Japan. Being out of the loop and unable to get on the internet to read the news or check my e-mail was incredibly frustrating. But I finally got word that my friends in Kuji are OK, Praise God! Since then, I've heard stories and seen photos of the destruction in Kuji, and my heart goes out to my friends there. I have five new Japanese friends onboard the ship, and thankfully their families are safe as well.
The Arabian Sea was unaffected by the tsunami, and sailing was fine. The only time I felt a little sea sick was on the last night, when the boat was really rocking! I was stumbling around just trying to walk down the hallway, and at the same time was on an energy high from the dancing earlier in the evening--it was such a weird feeling!
About half-way through the sailing, I started my work in the Catering Department. I'm on the ''pantry team,'' which means I help keep the dining room clean. I work eight hours a day, five days a week (the days and times vary) vacuuming the floor, washing dishes, wiping tables, washing more dishes, refilling the juices, jams, teas, etc. and washing dishes again. It's not a glamorous job, but I work with great people and we have a good time together. Attitude is everything. :)
On my first day of work, the whole ship had an orientation about Sri Lankan culture (which was so interenting and informative.) I was really excited about the ice cream break after the orientation until I discovered that I'd be the one to wash all 400 bowls and spoons in addition to all the dishes from lunch! Washing dishes in a never-ending job, and on the days I work the morning shift, I have to start washing at 6 a.m.! Nothing like a mountain of dirty mugs to motivate you to get out of bed before the sun rises, haha. Ever since we've been docked in Colombo, I spend any time that I'm not working either:
A. Off the ship, seeing the city or passing out flyers about the ship's book fair.
B. On Deck 4, where the book fair is. I enjoy chatting with the local Sri Lankan people who come on board to visit.
C. Chatting/hanging out with friends on the ship. I absolutely LOVE making new friends from all over the world. :)
D. Sleeping! Non-stop socializing and dish-washing (especially at the dawn of ridiculous a.m.) takes the energy out of me.
Some local schoolgirls with "The Captain" on Deck 4.
So that's an update of what I've been doing recently. I continue to be impressed by how efficiently everything works on the ship--how all the departments work so well together--and I am thoroughly enjoying being part of this unique ministry!
It will be a long time before I'm able to update my blog again, since I'm getting ready to particpate in two different "challenge teams." The ship is staying in Colombo for the whole month of April for maintenance (called "dry dock"), so most of the crew is getting off the ship and going to different places around Sri Lanka to do service work. The month of dry dock is broken up into Phase 1 and Phase 2.
For Phase 1, I'll be on a team of five gals going to a childrens' center in a remote town that's a 10-hour train ride away from here! We'll be staying with different hosts for the next two and a half weeks and helping at the center however we're needed. I don't know many details, so it's quite an adventure.
I'll meet up with the rest of the ship's crew at a venue that's TBA, and find out where I'll be going for my Phase 2 challenge team...and who I'll be going with! Right now I have no idea. I'm excited about these mysterious challenge teams, and am looking forward to whatever is in store for the next month. Have a Happy April!
Love and hugs, Dana