After the beach excursion Saturday, it was nice to have another day off work to just relax and do nothing. Most of Sunday I could be found outside on Deck 8, reading a book or lying out by the pool with some friends. I actually swam a little bit too - my first time in the pool. When the ship rocks a lot, it turns into a wave pool and the water pretty much carries you from one end to the other.
On Sunday evening, a few friends and I walked up Bad Boy Lane (the road leading down to the docks) to visit the patients at the Hope Center. Several of our max-fax patients had been discharged that day, and it was fun to go see them, take pictures, and play with the kids for a couple of hours, as well as meet some patients who haven't had their surgeries yet. It started to rain a little while we were there, but nobody really cared. As soon as we walked up to where the patients were gathered outside, a little girl named Lucia, about 4 or 5 years old, with a big tumor on her face ran up and gave us all hugs. I'd never met her before, but apparently she didn't care - she was more than ready to be friends. :) Hopefully she'll feel the same way when we're taking care of her on the ward soon. Another group of crewmembers from the ship was there at the same time as us, doing a Bible lesson/puppet show for the patients. When the show started, Lucia reached up her arms to me, clearly wanting some snuggle time. So I stood and held her throughout the entire show, and remembered what I love about this place. Priceless moment: standing with a group of patients out in the drizzling African rain, singing "Tell Papa God tenki," while a little girl wraps her arms around my neck, puts her head on my chest, and falls asleep. When the puppet show was over and it was time for us to go back to the ship, several of the patients walked with us across the yard to the gate. Across the street someone was playing loud hip-hop music, and we all started dancing as we walked. After we'd waved goodbye and headed down the road to the docks, we looked back and saw some of the patients still dancing as they returned to the buildings. Fun times.
Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving! Something I've never thought about before, but we have a lot of Canadians on board. I won't say no to Thanksgiving dinner in October...or anytime, for that matter. :)
Tuesday evening we all got an interesting show to watch. Down on the dock, someone drove a forklift off the edge and into the water! Thankfully there was nobody in the forklift when it went down. Within minutes there was a crew of engineers and deck hands wearing hard hats and looking important on the dock, cranes and chains were being set up for the retrieval of the wayward forklift (now covered by 30 feet of water and 5 feet of mud), and the dive team was donning their wet suits and flippers and jumping into the murky water. I was in the peanut gallery out on the top deck of the ship, looking down on all the action while also enjoying a beautiful sunset to the west and lightning show to the east. Who needs TV in a place like this? Check out Heather's blog for pictures.