New surroundings, new people, new experiences. How many new things do I need to adapt to more?Ga naar de pagina van Tabitha Holtrop
Two weeks since my arrival and 6 days to go before leaving to Senegal, where do I need to start? Of course, where I ended my previous blog…
The last weeks before I got on the plane went by so fast when the ‘oliebollen’ sale was over. Eventually, we distributed the last bag of ‘oliebollen’ at around 17:15 after which we could enjoy our dinner ourselves with, of course, an ‘oliebol’ in the evening as well. I hope everyone enjoyed there yummy ‘oliebollen’!
Tuesday night I got a quick antigen test, which was necessary for flying. Early on the Wednesday morning I drove with my parents and sister to the airport. At 11:00 my flight to Barcelona left and after a little delay and 4 hours of waiting, I left at 17:50 to Tenerife. At the airport a cabdriver was waiting for me, and together with my fellow mercy-shippers from New-Zealand we went on our way to the Immigration. During our ride there were some misunderstandings because of the language barrier. For example we weren’t entirely sure if I had to go to immigration, since I was traveling within Europe, but when we arrived they did have a form for me… I was very glad to join them.
After a while (read: after 45 minutes, which we had no idea of) we entered a construction site with the Africa Mercy on the horizon. It was so unreal to finally be there. The ship was so small, but so big and overwhelming at the same time. And not only that… When we got out of the car, we were blown away by the wind! After a short get-to-know with receptioncrew, a short tour and a photoshoot (for our badge) we went to my cabin first. The entire door was full of papers from the Academy, the ‘Dutchies’ and others to welcome me. So nice and kind!
Looking back, the first weekend was quite hectic. Because of a covid outbreak on board, almost everyone was either in isolation or quarantine and the new crew was asked to support in housekeeping. This meant making beds and cleaning cabins for people to stay in. In the meantime, I had to unpack and rest as well before starting my teaching job. And how can you do that best? Right, with a puzzle of course! And during puzzling on Sunday, I received a great message! Geertje Nimra was born! The next day we facetimed a little longer to admire the new beauty. Only 5 months left until I can hold her as well.
Meanwhile, I’m starting to get more and more used to life onboard. Because of Covid our first school day was delayed and the next 3 days were online, but Monday my only student can come to the classroom again! Yes, you read it correctly. I only have 1 student, a Dutch boy, which of course is super exciting! Discovering Tenerife is difficult though, since we have a 15 km radius around the ship to explore (because of covid) and we are now in a bubble before leaving to Dakar.
Besides all this information some fun facts:
- The food is really nice! Look at the yummy pictures!
- The Spanish cake was soooo sweet, that I just had to make a picture to show you guys.
- A lot of things in the Shipshop are Dutch. As well as our jar of salt.
- My classroom is on the east side, so I can enjoy a beautiful sunrise every morning.
- The weather here is super nice anyways!
- We already had a fire drill twice. The first one was a drill on shore, so we had to gather on the dock and the second one was an ‘at sea’ drill. Therefore, we had to wear our lifejackets as well.
I want to close off this newsletter with some points of prayer:
- We are heading to Dakar next week Friday. At this moment we our Covid free (what is necessary to enter the port of Dakar). Pray that this will stay this way and that we will have a safe sail.
- In Africa people are looking forward to our arrival. Pray that the patients will be physically able to receive the healthcare they need.
- Behind the screens a lot of people are working to prepare everything as good as possible, so everything will run smoothly when we’ve arrived. Pray for strength and energy for those people to be able to continue doing this, even though some factors might change over and over again.
I want to thank everybody for you prayers and (financial)support!
See you in the next blog!