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Friday, May 30, 2008

Off the Ship

Today was my first day off of work and I made it off of the ship (sorry Bob and Dad!) My first trip out of the UN guarded and gated area was to the tailor. Apparently it is a favorite thing to do around here - to buy $2 material in fun African prints and then take the fabric to the tailor to have dresses, skirts, and bags made for you. Two other girls were going to pick up some stuff so I went along for the adventure of it - my first taste of town.

First impression, the main town is loud and full of dirt/mud. The side streets are reddish brown dirt and it rains here often, so things are slightly muddy. I hadn't been out to the main streets yet, so I wasn't prepared for how loud it was also. Lots of taxis speeding by beeping their horns at other cars, motorbikes, pedestrians, wandering dogs. We made it across the street and down another street to a little shack known as the tailor. Once you turn the corner and look inside you see about 15 VERY old fashioned sewing machines with young African men and women operating them. I am talking antique sewing machines, the kind where you use both your feet to get the machine to work. No electricity in Monrovia. Also, the workers were using real iron irons with coals in the bottom to heat them up. The tailor made some beautiful and very ornate dresses and skirts for my friends. I was amazed at what they were producing- fancy dresses, suitcoats, shirts. For about $20 my friend got 2 outfits made. I wish I could've taken a picture of the whole scene. However, it is not encouraged to take cameras anywhere out in public - for my safety and for the camera's safety :)

Once back at the ship we enjoyed a BBQ dinner out on the dock. Today is the one year anniversary of the Africa Mercy setting sail. I am happy to say that I made it onto the Africa Mercy in it's first year at sea (or maiden voyage as they say here on the high seas). Ok, so I made it onto the ship by just 5 days but who is counting?!? We had BBQ ribs, real french fries (a real special occasion food), salads and pineapple. Also they had some relay races - kind of like field day to just have fun and be together. I have some pictures coming I promise.

It is officially the weekend here and people are making their big plans for shopping in the market or the beach. I have to work so I will be sleeping and getting ready for the midnight shift. I do have plans tomorrow morning for a quick trip to the market for material and then to the tailor - since I have now seen his work. I am going with my friend Wendy, and also new friend Stephanie. Stephanie is a nurse and also the wife of Tyrone the head chef/galley manager on the ship. Stephanie and Tyrone have been with Mercy Ships a long time, and have graciously befriended me and Wendy.

Stay tuned and I promise to have some pictures soon.


Anonymous said...

Might have known you'd be shopping the first chance you got off that ship.
SHOP TILL YOU DROP! Jenny and friends.

Tracy said...

Jenny WAY WAY WAY cool. I am so glad that you were able to get off the ship for a little bit. I have been praying that you would see a glimpse of the sun. You are going to treasure the "outfits" from Monrovia. I can't wait to see the beautiful fabrics - the geometric shapes - the hues of color. How great is it that you have connected with Stephanie too!? I guess the 'ol blog has turned up a treasure - in a friendship! I am so glad and know that it is because you are so sweet and God is so ABUNDANTLY good! May songs of praise be playing in Your heart and mind today! Love, TN

ps. it's almost been a week!

Rose and Norm said...

Love the comment about the old antique sewing machine - LIKE THE KIND I LEARNED TO SEW ON!!!!

Keeping you in my prayers, Rose.

Virginia said...

Oh Jen the tailor sounds 'Marvy'...wow I can't WAIT to see what you are going to have whipped up by them...and on a foot pushing sewing machine like my grandma's...LOVE IT!!!! So cool!
Hey, do they make boa's ---maybe you could have a few made for the party you will have when you get back home. :) Hey, do they make jewelery?
Thinking and praying for you ...and safety.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,
I just read through all your blogs and am in awe of how our God has provided for you to not be "alone" in your travels. He always sent people out in two's or more and has shown His faithfulness to you!!! I'm so glad that you had others with you at the right time to keep you company.

I would love to see the Tailor's sewing machines. I remember pushing the peddles of my Grandma's for her, of course, I was playing at it!! But, she did humor me, because she was the Grandma!!! Can't wait to hear about the dresses you're having made???!!!

Enjoy each day and all the new that you find there. The memories of these treasures will always be a blessing to you. Even the not so great stuff will be a reminder of how marvelously blessed our lives are.

Blessings on you and all your ship mates.

Love you,

Teri said...

I am so jealous! I totally want cool African gear!

I probably wont comment with every post, but know i am reading and praying!

I love that you are serving God this radically!

I love you,

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,

I just found out at the walk this weekend that you are in Africa!

God has placed this upon your heart for some time and its wonderful to see that His plan for you!

I'm praying for you on your journey and cant wait to see you when you return to MI.

Love, Sandi

Anonymous said...

Jenny -

LOVE the Blog! Thank you for taking your valuable free time to update us. It is better than the summmer TV schedule, that's for sure.

Keep on keepin' on, chica! I can't wait to hear more!!!

Liz King

Jordon said...

shopping on an off shore excursion...this is a familiar scene. a word to the wise: don't waste your time on the conch train. It's waaay lame. love you. miss you. praying for you always. be safe. get some sleep :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny
Greetings from Switzerland, Europe!! You don't know me because we've never met before, BUT maybe we are going to meet one day - who knows?! I just received the application papers form Mercy Ship and as you can imagine, an exciting part has started ;-)And well, tonight I was searching for all kind of information about MS. And suddenly there was your blog - was like a fingertip of Jesus to get up-to-date information what the life on MS as a ward nurse could look like. What a great God we have who directed me to your blog ;-)
Okay Jenny keep writing and let us know all the little details and huge challenges you are going to meet there.
Lot's of love
PS: Sorry for my poor English, though I guess for you it's even easier to understand than Swiss German ;-)

Jen said...

THANK YOU so much for commenting. Please feel free to email me at plaidshoe@hotmail.com

tyronebcookin said...

See Jen,

You are like 'old hat' now, many friends on the ship...things to do, work thats great, why you won't even need us anymore (unless of course you want to eat dinner) hahahaha....

Glad its being a great experience for you, and thanks again for those t-shirts, I needed them up here in this hot galley.

Glad you took my wife along to the market too...I got some free time!