Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Makin' My Way Downtown...

A quick update for you- the ship finally has consistent water flow, and we've just been stocked with our SL2 Container- which means that the stuff from America is here- which also means my 2 suitcases I packed on said container will be accessible to me in less than an hour!! SO EXCITED!! Maybe I will no longer be 'the tye dye girl...'... only on work days:) We also had a close caffeine call- last night we ran out of the last caffeine on ship,but luckily, we are re-stocked, and people are so excited. We're so excited that the Sales Department is offering FREE coffee to the whole crew tomorrow- I'm looking forward to this. It's funny how I take the little things for granted, and how much the little comforts do truly make your day a little brighter.

The other day when I was off ship, I took lots of pictures around town- something I normally steer away from, but the city is decorated for the 50th anniversary- so I couldn't resist... here are some of the sights you can find on a normal day around Freetown.

Selling things in the market- baby powder, chiars, flip flops, and pants! One stop shopping!

Note How close one-stop shopping is to the trash pile... hm..

There are some pretty great buildings, though most are abandoned and occupied by homeless people.

Beautiful view from a side street.

I love this.

According to this Poda-poda, they are family friends with both Madonna and weed...interesting...

The 50th anniversary is coming this on the 26th/27th! It will be nuts.

I think this phone booth looks like a porto-potty...

A line of them...

Even the curb is painted to celebrate the 50th Anniversary!

A parade for a church- some kind of mens conference or something.

Victoria Park was apparently a place that rebels loved to hang out during the war, but its beginning to become more used by the public now.

All Decorated!

This is one of the judiciary courts in the middle of town.

This is the cotton tree- it signifies the middle of town- its also a great way to figure out where you are if you get lost.

Traffic Galore.

Unfinished buildings.

A man with a wheelbarrow full of styrofoam...

The clocktower- how you know you're in 'Eastern Police'

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Water and Traffic

Some of you may be wondering the results of the water situation- so let me tell you then I'll tell you about another woe of living in Freetown:)

On Tuesday afternoon, there was an announcement that the water situation is no longer critical and that we could proceed to do laundry. That being said I RANNNN up to the laundry room to sign up for a lundry slot- beat most people and got my 9pm slot- I reallly needed to get my work clothes washed before I started work the next day.. I had nothing else work-friendly to wear, and wouldn't be caught dead in those stinky galley clothes.

For those still wondering- and I'm pretty sure I never said this- what ended up happening to cause all of this is we use the local water in our region and pump it in 3 times a week- monday, wednesday, and friday. The government controls the water supply and only allows the water to flow during certain times on these 3 days. So, what happened was water was not flowing to our region on Monday....or Wednesday... so.. we ran out. Just imagine what ended up happening for the families in our region who must've run out of water... Not good. We did get it on Friday, but it certainly wasn't enough to supply us for long ,so we got another source coming in, got re-filled again on Monday, and treated all of the water, which went really well, meaning we got water! So happy. It wasn't until yesterday, however, that I actually got a hot shower. Still a 2 minute ship shower, but that's the 'norm' so warm water was so great. I actually got my hair cut the other day and there was no warm water.. .so... my hair was washed in FREEZING COLD water.. it was... awesome... not;)

Now for my new story...

Yesterday I was invited over to the Team House, where the people who work off-ship live(about 15 or so of them I think). My friend lives there and invited us over becuase one of my roommates is leaving on May 1, and she wanted to have us over for a party. We got there in no time at all because it was 'National Cleaning Day', which they've been doing almost weekly now, which entails people barricading parts of the road, while the towns people use shovels and their hands and such to scoop the sludge out of the gutters and put it in the road for the government trash trucks to come pick up. They've been doing this weekly because soon the 50th Anniversary of Sierra Leone's independence is coming up next weekend, so they're trying to get it all ready... it's amazing how much trash can accumulate in 1 week...

Cleaning Day- the trash

On the Way to the Team House.. no one on the road...

So, we got to the team house in probably about a 1/2 hour. My friend who was driving- Becca- was amazed that she was actually going reasonably fast on this road- speed is not common here at alll.... which we were harshly reminded on the way home.

My friends Becca and Gregory made us some food only to realize others were making food, so we all joined together to form a great feast!

Becca and Greg cleaning the fish

The Amazing food!

After a great hugee meal of pretty much all African food and some swimming and time with friends, we made our way back to the ship so that we could have some dinner, get cleaned up and ready for the Variety Show that evening.

My 'red' velvet cupcakes... we were out of red...

We left around 4:30 and didn't get home until close to 6:15.... we were miserable.... here are some of the sights we saw.....

2 Parades...

Prime Time to Sell:)

You can see the traffic jam all the way down- mixed with people traffic...

This was one of the worst parts of the trip minus the parades... plus I also thought it's funny that there was an 'Obama' truck there.. hm...:)

We did this almost daily on Field Service, but I'm not so sure I"ll ever get used to it... definetly not going to learn how to drive one of the ship's vehicles(stick) in this country...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Where did all the water go?

Many of you are probably curious as to the conclusion of my facebook status the other day. Those of you who are not following my via facebook, my status on Saturday which said:

"Coming soon: how to run a Galley with no water... this should be interesting. Hoping the crisis is averted shortly."

Now, let's back up and look at the chain of events.

A few weeks ago, the Captain got on the PA saying that we need to conserve water because we were still running off of the water the ship received before the sail in South Africa. He said we were still looking for a water source so that we can get enough water to run the ship properly. Most of us listened and did well, but then we forgot about it, and somewhere along the line we thought that we were fine on water, and started using more and more- meaning instead of doing 1 load of laundry, many started doing 2, and instead of using the 35 minute cycle(which isnt' great) people started using the 55 minute cycle which does a much nicer job. For me, I hadn't washed my clothes well since Texas, and we eager to do so, so I took advantage. Many of us were kicking ourselves in the face later when we learned there was indeed still a restriction in place and communications had broken down somewhere along the line.

On Thursday the Captain came on saying that we were 'mission critical' and needed to use extreme caution when using water because we went from being in the 'green' level(safe) to the 'red'(danger) without even hitting the middle. Because of this, the captain let us all know that the laundry would be cut off until further notice.

Friday there was not much word, but that we received a small amount of water. The issue there is that it takes 48-72 hours to treat the water, but then if they test it and it is still not potable, they must re-treat it taking another 48-72 hours, which is a big problem. In the Galley, we put all of our dirty laundry(aprons, towels,etc) in huge buckets and put water in them to soak them...sounded like a good idea at the time...

Saturday felt like the day of doom while it happened. We were hard at work cleaning up the galley, which is what we do on Saturdays, since there is no hot breakfast or lunch, when the PA came on with the Captain. We were all hopeful that the news was good. It was not. The Captain told us all that the water would be shut off completely on board. No toilets, hand sinks, showers, laundry, the pool, crew galley(for all other crew), no dishes, cups, mugs.. NOTHING. So, being in the galley at that time I go 'WE NEED TO GET WATER ON BEFORE IT GOES OFF!!!' So, we filled up all of the sinks, steam kettle, and as many pots and pans as we could get our hands on. We filled up and lost water pressure at time went and then lost it all together. FORTUNATELY by the middle of the day, the Captain gave water back to the Galley because we need it to keep it sanitary and safe for crew, but we gave up salads for the day so that we didn't use unnecessary water. After a while the Captain decided to turn back on hand sinks, but nothing else. Thankfully the drinking water has never been restricted or a problem. Thank God.

Sunday, all was well in the Galley- we just cut back on the water usage, but the rest of the ship was suffering a bit because people hadn't showered in a while, no laundry, etc. Some got crabby due to the Starbucks being closed on night then it was open last night, but no frappucino's due to the amount of water it takes to clean the blenders, but most of us were fine with just putting ice in:) Last night, the Captain got on the intercom and said that we were allowed one shower, but to be respectful and keep it to a ship shower(2 minutes), which is normally what it is, but some people haven't been following the rules. Also, the water would be cold, but he reminded us that in order to keep the surgical schedule in tact they have to do these cuts.

I went to go get my nice shower after work because I hadn't had one after 2 days of work(oh man.. the galley makes you smelly)... and realized it wouldnt turn on. So, I used a cup and the sink to 'shower'... quite the task, but where this is a will there is a way. Later, I saw on of my roommates and she had wet hair. I realized in that moment that I had to turn the dial on the shower to COLD to get it to work... mannn. The dials on these showers are set by temperature on one dial and the other dial is the 'on/off' dial... silly me.

We are recieving more water, and hoping the treatment goes well. Laundry is not expected until tomorrow at the EARLIEST-and that's if the water tests as 'potable'.... We'll see how this saga ends in a few days(hopefully). Keep us in your prayers!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Questions Answered

I asked people recently on Facebook to suggest things they'd like to hear more about on my blog, or questions they have for me, so that's what I'll be talking about today. If you have any more questions/curiosities- let me know and I'll answer!!

Question 1:
Do you ever get seasick?
Why yes, I actually do. I have gotten seaSICK yet, but from time to time, especially at the beginning of my time on board, I would get crazy headaches and a nauseous feeling quite often that made me feel realllly out of it. This happens in cars as well, so it's no surprise, but I think I"ll have to take extra care on the sail:)

Question 2:
How big is your room?
Um... tinny.:) My room has 2 rooms that are about 6 feet by 4 or 5 feet and contains a set of bunk beds(I"m on the top, but plan to move to the bottom soon once roommates leave. All of my roommates are leaving in the next few months- 2 next month and one in August, so fortunately I'm able to get a bottom bunk. Some are not so lucky. Each 6X5 room also fits 2 wardrobes and a small desk between the wardrobes. We also have a tiny little bathroom that is seriously big enough to turn around in, which has our shower and sink and toilet... not room for annnything else but you. We also have a little back room that has a book shelf and a few other things, but its pretty small... I normally don't go back there, but sometimes use that space in my room or others' rooms to watch movies, etc.

Question 3:
What are the things you love about your life right now?
I love how close the beach is. I mean, it's about a 1 1/2 hour trip, but there are some beautiful beaches- one which has incredible food(barracuda and fries for about 6 dollars!). I love that there can be adventure right around the corner whenever you want. I love the view out the window of the ship. I love getting out and just being in Freetown- the people are incredibly nice. I love getting to work with people from Freetown in the Galley- they really make my experience so much greater. I love Nutella or cinnamon sugar toast daily. I love having a new family surrounding me all of the time. I love cooking often.. though.. it's not always my favorite thing to do all of the time;)

Question 4:
What are the things you haven't quite gotten used to?
I haven't gotten used to the ship rocking. I'm not used to so many people- and also feeling so lonely when I'm surrounded by people... working on that one. I'm not used to not being able to go where I want when I want... I miss driving a looot. I'm not used to not being able to decide what I eat and when I eat. I'm not used to working such incredibly hard days then having days where I do absolutely nothing.. that's really frustrating to me, but needed since I get so tired. I'm not quite used to not being able to talk to my friends back home at the drop of a hat.. it takes planning daysss in advance. I'm not quite used to living in a hospital. I'm not used to being surrounded by people in a country with so much need. I'm not used to having to make such a point to spending time with people who I live around in smaller groups... haven't remotely figured this one out yet either...I'm not quite used to having to function at 7:30 in the morning... not my favorite... or on Sundays having to function at 6am... not so fun.
I haven't gotten used to some of my job's necessities such as butchering meat, cracking eggs for over an hour, rolling meatballs for hours, etc...

I thought about reversing those last 2, but I like the contrast, so that's how I'll end. I'll adjust eventually.. hopefully;)