Thursday, January 27, 2011
As I sit here, on the first night shift reception has had in months, I had the epiphany that I it has been a while. Do to setbacks in the engine room, we are still in Durban, and most of the crew is still in Appelsbosch, a place about an hour and a half from here. At the moment it is beautiful, with just enough of a breeze to make me slightly sleepy and the lights from the harbor glancing oddly off the water. There is something very beautiful about a harbor at night time.
We have become a bit of a tourist attraction, we and our boxy hospital ship. During the day and certain times in the evening, tour boats chug slowly through the harbor as they tell their human cargo about the different sights around the port. We happen to be one of them. It is fun to wave and see how many participate and wave back. I am sure I am on a few cameras by now. How is that about getting famous?
At the beginning of the field service, before I went home to see my family for two months (Jessica was beautiful in her wedding gown), I left reception to work as a steward. What did this envolve? Well, every morning we had a meeting in the psudo auditorium on sixth deck, the international lounge as we call it, at seven thirty. After a half hour of singing much rowdier tunes than we like in the morning and getting the daily update, I go down to the fifth deck for yet another meeting, and the day starts. For a few hours we cleaned the ship. At normal times at field service there is usually about four or five people (not sure here) who clean the ship top to bottom for eight hours every day. As there was only four of us working for a couple hours on a good day, we only got the most necessary places cleaned. There was an amazing amount of dust build up after such things as sand blasting (using sand to get rid of paint) and needle gunning (using an interesting appliance to get rid of paint or rust or something). Still we had to get onto the next thing, which was dining room. That job pertained to setting up, mopping the floor, cleaning surfaces, and dishes for a hundred crew. It’s larger than you would think. I’ve known two people who have done dining room their whole time in field service and I respect them greatly. Sufficient to say I think I lost weight by all this extra exercise.
Thankfully, I am back in reception. Reception is a lot of work, but it tends to be all at once with quiet moments in between. I have moments of being overworked with the huge desire to go to the bathroom, when I can’t leave the reception desk, to moments of extreme relaxation writing. I like it that way. At the moment I’m on night shift talking to you. We are hoping to be setting sail too. Next stop… Sierra Leone!