During our time in South Africa, we have our Eye Teams working, but not here in Kwa Zulu Natal, but in the Eastern Cape. I was invited to join our Managing Director and Brenda as we went down there to see how they are doing. The first night we enjoyed a traditional South African Braai with our Braai Master, Mr. John Rae.
Here in South Africa, Friday was a national holiday. I had been with the Eye Teams who are working in the Eastern Cape and so I stayed a bit longer and spent the day at Addo Elephant Park – so close to the world’s largest land mammal. I loved just watching them from the vehicle.
On last Saturday, I was able to join two families as their 9th person in the Land Rover vehicle and we travelled almost 100 km to the Howick Falls as you see behind me in the photo – then we went to a very kid friendly restaurant before stopping for some shopping and heading back to Appelsbosch.
Even though during this season in South Africa, we are not able to use our hospital on board – we do still have some programs active in the country – Dental, Eyes and Mental Health. While on the Advance Team, I was responsible to coordinate the mental health/whole person ministry / counseling training program. The photo is of our first group – church leaders from all over the Kwa-Zulu Natal province – 32 attended the 5 day course. Currently, Dr. Lyn and Clementine are working in Pongo with 22 church leaders and next week in Eshowe.
Durban South Africa has a new airport which just opened on May 1, 2010 in time for the World Cup games here – the airport is called King Shaka International. Our friend Clementine hates to sail as she gets so sick – someone provided for her and she instead flew. Naomi and I had the privilege to collect her from the airport. Many of the World Cup advertising is still around ‘Africa United’ – representing the six African nations who participated.
Appelsbosch is our new home for four months. While on the Advance Team, one of our big responsibilities was looking for possible off ship housing. This place is a former college campus and so it provided enough dormitory space and classroom space for our Academy. The property has not been used in many years and so it took some cleaning up.
For the move off of the non-technical crew, we had moving trucks for our belongings, two buses and 13 of the ship vehicles for the journey. I was driving the lead vehicle with the Finance Director and Ship Security Officer. What would only take 90 minutes normally, took us over 3 hours, but everyone arrived safely. The day was cool, light rain and a bit of wind as it is spring time here.
Over 100 adults and 47 children moved off the Africa Mercy within 24 hours of our arrival into South Africa. This is required by the shipyard for safety reasons, etc. It was an ‘all hands on deck’ moving party to get all the personal belongings, work items and over 240 boxes for the Academy.