Sunday, January 31, 2016

catching up: a little bit of everything

Happy New Year (a bit late) from the Africa Mercy!!!

I don't know where the month of January has gone, but it's time to catch up on what has been happening around here in recent weeks!

Ponseti Ceremony

On December 17 we held a ceremony to celebrate the first 15 kiddos who now have straight feet (now they are wearing their braces and coming in regularly for checkups).

This is a huge accomplishment for the clinic and huge milestone in the kids' lives!  We wanted to take the time to celebrate and give glory to God for what He has done.  Mercy Ships hospital chaplaincy team came out and sang songs with us and shared a message of encouragement for the families of our patients.  LOTS of Mercy Ships crew came out to be part of the ceremony (even though it was blistering hot out that day) and we felt very supported. 

We danced, celebrated, sang, prayed over the kids and families, and then called up each patient by name to give them a gift.

This was also a very special time to recognise the work and dedication of our partners at Hopital Be.  They have come so far in their ability to treat clubfeet- they are the ones seeing these patients and putting on the casts each week.  As they have improved their skills, Nick has been less and less hands on with the training. This celebration is as much about their hard work and progress as it is about the kids.

They did a group photo of all the kids and their mamas, Nick and I jumped into one shot...

Little baby Serah's dad requested a photo of Nick and I holding his daughter, so that he can show her when she gets bigger.  Serah will never even have to remember her feet being anything but normal- I'm glad she got the treatment she needed early in life!


We had a lovely Christmas on board with our ship family, Nick and I both love Christmas here.  Of course, we miss our families in Australia and America, but it's a really special time here on board too.  We get to take all the fun traditions from around the world and share a bit of everything- scandanavian Santa Lucia, dutch Sinter Klaas, Australian carols by candlelight out on the dock, and lots more.

Here's a few photos from our christmas day....

(In this photo we are wearing the hats from the bon-bons/Christmas crackers.  We don't really have these in America, but they do in Australia and the UK.  I found some at the local supermarket and got them as a surprise for Nick. Look them up if you don't know what I'm talking about.)  :)

Our dear friends, Harmen and Andrea, hosted christmas morning in their cabin and we did a gift exchange.

Christmas brunch is the best meal of the year on the ship!!! The galley and dining room teams do an incredible job!

We were able to Skype both our families on Christmas day as well.  Madagascar has better internet capabilities than most countries we work in; normally we can't Skype from the ship but this year we can and it is such a blessing!

Our stockings...everyone puts a shoe or stocking outside their door on christmas eve.

Logos Hope was our neighbor for a month:

Another highlight from December: the Logos Hope came and spent a month here in Tamatave!

The Logos Hope is part of Operation Mobilisation- and they use their ship as a basis for ministry as well.  Rather than a hospital, their ship is outfitted as a floating book fair and conference center.  Their mission is to bring "knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world".  They visit many many ports, in countries where books are not readily available or very expensive for the public.  

Books of all kinds are sold at very low prices on board- they materials for all ages: dictionaries, encyclopaedias, textbooks, cookbooks, kid's books, novels, as well as bibles and many other christian books.

Nick and I visited the book fair and bought some board books for the little kiddos to look at when they come to the ponseti clinic.  Of course, the most popular one with the kids is the one that makes noises :)  (Nick found that one)

Other bits of life...

Photos from along the road we call "beach road" which we take over to the clinic at Hopital Be.  Tamatave is such a colourful city with the pousse-pousse and tuk-tuks everywhere.

One of my new favourite places is the antique shop, it's very close to the port.  There is a bit of everything in there: malagasy handmade art, lots of things from France, things from world war II.  There is so much to look at.  The french man who owns it was happy for me to take a few pictures:

Sunset over Tamatave from a few days ago:

Thanks for keeping up with us!  Something to pray for- we are hosting a course in less than 2 weeks which is geared towards professionals from around madagascar who are already treating clubfeet.  We want to see these two days be the biggest benefit that they can be for the attendees, it is a rare opportunity to meet together and we hope that each one of them leaves with new and useful knowledge as well as being encouraged as a professional.  We are thrilled to have this opportunity to share God's love through developing the professional skills of Malagasy healthcare providers.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

If I did this right, there should be a super cute video of one of our plastics patients at the end of this post....we have some great dance parties around here! :)

Sometimes a dance party is just what the doctor ordered. #MercyShips
Posted by Mercy Ships on Friday, January 29, 2016