All comments contained within this blog are my personal observations while serving on the M/V Africa Mercy. They are not the views or opinions of Mercy Ships or partner ministries.»

Monday, March 3, 2008

Closing down...

It seems like it was just yesterday when I was rushing around at work trying to get my projects finished before heading out to Liberia. Now I find myself doing the same thing on the other side of the world.

Literally everyone I have gotten to know repeats the same mantra, "You can't leave. You just got here." Even those I only know by their familiar face fall right in step and voice those very words to me. I have gotten to know some awesome people here. From my roommates whom I rarely saw, except by the sudden illumination of a flashlight in our "mole hole"; to Esther and Chad whom I kind of shared an office with.

Then there were people who play such an important role to the floating hospital ship like Carole in the dinning room to Val down in the depths of the hull keeping the boutique nice and tidy. Although it was only last week that I actually found the boutique, I enjoyed my visit and got some nice lotion out of the trek.

I filmed some highly important people like the President of Liberia and Don and Deyon Stephens, the founders of Mercy Ships, to people who live their lives in the shadows of society.

I lived on a first class ship and visited a former five-star hotel that had been gutted and housed squatters seeking safety from the 14-year civil war.

While driving down the road seeing people thrust their thumbs up and people yelling "Mercy Ships we love you" or simply "Mercy Ships" spoken as tremendous smiles spread across their faces.

I have had amazing food, cooked by a wonderful chef who really takes pride in the food he serves to having a wonderful pizza on a beach at sundown with a good friend and great conversation.

Patients have greeted me with trepidation that grew into joyous anticipation upon my arrival to the sorrows of saying farewell to a little child and watching his father standing guard at his bedside who would watch his son die on an early Sunday morning.

I have taken some amazing photographs that are vivid and full of life but will never show the true beauty of Liberia that will forever live in my memories. If only there were a way to share those will folks, I would be thrilled.

The following are some snapshots the are in my head were seen from the car as we drove into town:

...Watching a mother cradle her baby, lean over and coo at the baby only to raise her head and laugh a hearty laugh.
...A child riding a bike out on a Sunday afternoon carrying no packages. You must remember, this is still a war torn country and that is just not seen. It was very encouraging to see this.
...A man rollerskating across the bridge. Same reason as the boy on the bike.
...Young men standing as they get their tennis shoes shined.
...The countless smiles of the people of Liberia.
...Moses, the security guard at the Hotel Ducor who was the security officer when the hotel was in it's prime and 30-years later finds himself guarding the same property where only his memories recall the former glory.
...A little girl dancing down the beach as she sang a song to herself, all the while keeping the bucket on top of her head perfectly balanced.
...Three young boys pointing in awe as they stood on top of a rocky outcropping tracking a jet ski that was being ridden by a UN guard.
...Being waved at by two of three fishermen in a traditional fishing boat when they saw me taking their photo.

I could go on and on with the specific memories. But I think perhaps the biggest memory I have is God's faithfulness to me and the people who I have shared my time with, both crew and patients. All I can do is stand on awe and wonder at His loving kindness. Yes, even in the sorrow that happens in this life. He never wavers!!!