Monday, November 23, 2009

Memory Monday and More!

The very old and the very new

I'm bursting with the news of our brand new grandbaby:

Baby Zion 7lb. 11.8oz 20.25" long. at 2:18 am

No photos yet.

Now about the very old: The 95-year-old M/V Doulos (meaning bond servant or slave) was our home for five years. The Guinness Book of World Records calls it "the world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship", only two years younger than the Titanic. The news that it is ending its 32 servant years as one of Operation Mobilization's missionary ships, rather suddenly on December 31st, has some of us feeling nostalgic.

Being Memory Monday, I will share something I wrote 30 years ago, a glimpse into our life onboard this ship.


Voyage from Recife, Brazil to Madeira, September 18-28, 1979
(some describe it as our best this year)

Tuesday  AM: Knock! Knock
--Hi, Niklaus! You've come to close the deadlights.
No daylight for nine days. Sorry about those plants up there.

Wedensday 6 AM: The engines stopped. No more vibration. We must be anchored.
Later. Breakfast announcement: Stowaway found last evening "working" in the hold is being handed over to the authorities in Natal (a bit further up the coast slightly off our course).
12:30, at lunch: Leah says, "Mama, at school we prayed for the stowaway, that he wouldn't get into so much trouble. I feel sorry for him."
Later. Afternoon announcement: "If you look out the port side you'll see a group of dolphins playing."
7:30 PM: The Latin Evening program is supposed to begin. Mike says, "Hurry up, you'll be late." I put on my long dress, brush my hair, and run up to the main lounge, only to arrive half an hour early! Should've known it would start on hora latina. The room is full of excitement. As each country group enters wearing their typical dress the crowd whistles, shouts, and cheers. All had worked hard to make or improvise their costumes with excellent results. These will be very useful in Europe for the international evenings and concerts.
When the program begins, we are taken on an imaginary journey through Latin America: Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and then on to Spain. Each country presents typical folk dances, songs, recitations, even a gaucho scene around the fire.
10:00 PM: We proceed to the dining room for a taste of typical foods--paella, tortilla, bolluelos, arepas, sangrĂ­a, empanadas.

Thursday, 10:45 AM: My English class meets ont he exhibition deck, but so does everyone else! The deck crew are chipping and pounding; children running; many sitting or laying around (that's where the seasick spend their days, if not in their bunks!)
6:52 PM: We cross the Equator. It is dark, we can't see a thing!
Later. Evening of prayer: Special prayer for each of the South American countries, for Spain and Portugal, for the Maldive Islands, and Burma. (See Operation World). Then in country groups we pray for our home churches and troubled spots of the world. The final hour we view slides of Indonesia.

Friday: Mike spends every possible minute working on the computer system and is making progress. The most complicated part is still ahead.
8:00 PM: For fun and relaxation he takes part in five-minute chess games, but crosses his name off the voyage chess tournament, it takes too much time and concentration.

Saturday: Spring cleaning is going on in the girls cabins, mattresses carried out to be pounded, vacuumed, aired and sunned. Oh, no! It is beginning to rain. Mattresses and pillows are thrown inside. What a mountain!
3:00 PM: Piano recital by 10 ship children. All very good.
Clocks set forward for the second time on the voyage, one more to go.

Sunday 10:30 AM: Worship services at sea are very special times for the ship family to come and break bread together and happen very infrequently. Sundays in port, most of the ship people are out ministering in the churches.
3:00 PM: On special occasions--such as Christmas, Easter, and long voyages--we divide into small groups for fellowship. Singles are assigned to a family. We had two Mexican guys, on Colombian, a Spanish girl, and an American. Playing games can be interesting due to the language differences.

Monday: Our area's turn for spring cleaning, or is it fall cleaning?
It is also a special day of prayer. And I have to make Stephan and Leah's costumes for the Noah musical.
First things first: breakfast; kids off to school; Sammy to the nursery for half an hour while I collect and carry the two bags of dirty clothes to the laundry and strip the beds so the guys can carry out the mattresses.
Time to pick up Sammy and put him down for his nap.
10:00 AM: Wives prayer hour.
11:00 AM: Work on crocodile head for Stephan--cover climbing helmet and egg carton 'jaws' with green crepe paper; insert white 'teeth' and red tongue; attach to helmet.
Early afternoon: We sailed between some of the Cape Verde islands, very stark looking.
Cleaning continues throughout that day and the next: walls and ceilings washed, carpets shampooed.
Then there's Leah's kitten costume...

Tuesday 6:30 PM: Dress rehearsal for Noah musical.
7:30 PM Talent Night, special entertainment on long voyages. This one longer than usual: many skits, including a TV interview between Abe Lincoln and Fidel Castro by two guys that resemble these personages; a play by the junior school; a recitation by our oldest member; a guitar duet; and soooooooo much more.

Wednesday: Big day for all. The Noah musical performed twice, at 3:00 and 7:00 PM. Stephan and Leah very excited and busy getting ready and performing. Stephan starts out as a mocker, some funny lines about Noah "a duffy dood", then he changes into a crocodile. Sammy wants to clap the whole time.
Mike is mentally exhausted; he's working on the most difficult segment of the inventory control system.

Thursday: Last English lesson. One week from now we will be in Vigo, Spain, and all these young people will be staying and ministering for two months.

Friday AM: We arrive in Madeira, a beautiful mountainous island.


That was one of many, many voyages. Our children have many fond memories of life on the DOULOS and feel a twinge of sadness. Then there are the 300 "homeless" waiting for the Lord to redirect them.

Do check out the OM Ships website for more information, photos, and many stories of Hope. You can listen to many prepared especially for children: Hope for Kids. And you may read brief news notes and stories. I was fascinated scrolling down as far as September. My favorite titles or photos: 9/11 about a baby shower; 10/16 a book club visits the book fair; 11/19 baking for Thailand royalty. Enjoy!


Kim said...

Congratulations Grandma! For some reason I thought they were having a girl but Zion is a boy's name, right? Or is it a girl?

Fun reading your activities from one of your times at sea! Will have to go check out the link to read what's going on now. Why are they retiring the ship? Age? Too expensive to operate? Since it's so old I imagine the technology is rather dated so it's probably a fuel hog?

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Di said...

Rita, I was surfing the web today for info on the Doulos & came across your blog! 32 years ago today Elizabeth was born on the Doulos in Rio! Hope all's well with ya'll! ~ Diane Coleman