Friday, 25 March 2016

Time with Family

Home; a word I often pause before saying or explaining where it is, because the answer isn’t simple. Now I just think of a familiar place where I feel comfortable with people who have welcomed me into their hearts and lives and that to me is home.

I have spent this last month away from the ship in New Zealand and Australia, celebrating the marriage of my cousin, the upcoming birth of my sister’s baby and just generally taking time out from the intense environment of the ship and reconnecting with family and friends. I don’t have much to say except through my photos. So, instead of reading thousands of words, scroll through the photos below to glimpse the joy of 'normal' life.

Some of my extended family

NZ sheep selfie

She has learnt to walk since I've been home!

Looking back through these photos I've uploaded highlights the fact that they are mostly baby photos, but this is the season of life. Also, the little one is my niece and so cute photos of her are mandatory (and so enjoyable) for me to capture. Above is my little sister and her husband, preparing to give birth in just 6 weeks.

The photos I did not take are the many friends that I have in my home town and surrounding areas and despite not capturing the beauty each friend brings to my life with a still shot, I hold on to these friendships dearly, knowing I need them to speak life and truth into me.

Now it's time to return to the ship and to my other 'normal' life, worlds apart from each other. Somehow I wish they could be combined and that I wouldn't have to keep choosing between them, always missing people wherever I am.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Reef

 Once upon a time, there was a guy called Dave who loved being out in the ocean almost more than anything else. When he flew to join a ship called the Africa Mercy that sat upon the ocean in Madagascar, he dreamed of ways that he could explore the country and take advantage of the beautiful surroundings. So, joining with an engineer on board, they created and built their very own boat. This meant that Dave could explore with his friends whenever he wanted to and when the weather was right.

One day Dave took his friends Stacia, Heather and Deb out to the reef just outside the port. Dave's friends had been asking him if he could take them out before Heather left the ship to go home. They were not disappointed by what they saw. In the perfectly temperate ocean water they saw starfish, colourful corals and many different types of small fish as they snorkeled around. They even stopped off at a shipwreck and snorkeled around seeing the way that the coral had established itself on the iron of the ship creating a new home for more tropical fish.

As the group of friends motored home at the end of the trip the girls thanked Dave for the opportunity to explore a unique part of Madagascar that they could see from their ship home but only imagine what beauty was hiding under the ocean waves.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Malagasy Cultural Tour

The last few weeks have flown by so fast, so although the events below happened a couple of weeks ago, they were such fun I don’t want to skip over them happening.

I was able to join the Malagasy Culture Tour for a full day of learning and fun. First stop was at a house in Toamasina where the man of the house has been making paper from the bark of a tree for the last 40 years. He has made enough money over the years to support his family and send his kids to college. He showed us how he makes it and then let us decorate our own piece to take home.

 Next we went to a lady’s house who cooks snacks to sell on the street. Together we made the snacks she sells and we got to taste them for ourselves. They were so good! We were even given the recipes.

After a drive outside of the city to a village nearby we met Mama Lili, mother to four children, whose husband works away from home. Mama Lili works in her family rice field, growing food for her family and when they have plenty to eat she sells to others. She taught us how to plant and grow rice. We also saw how amazingly resourceful she is at using the plants in her fields to supply food for her family and to dry for weaving of placements and baskets to sell.

To finish off the day we had a Malagasy dance group sing and dance some of their cultural songs and participation was definitely required!

 We returned to the ship with muddy feet and tired bodies but with such an appreciation for the work that each person puts into their day to day life to live and support their families.


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