The end of the year was a whirlwind of activity: final exams, end of the year celebrations, graduation, securing the ship for sailing, and saying good-bye to many crew members. We set sail right after the school year ended. We were blessed with good weather, calm seas, and many dolphin sightings. The sail is a time of both rest and wrap up. The pace of life is much slower on the sail as the hospital and the school are both closed. I used the time to organize math resources and curriculum for the next math teacher. After teaching many of the same students for 3 years in a row, I am hesitant to hand them over to a new teacher. But I'm sure the new teacher, a young man from Germany, will do a great job.
|Getting Ready to Sail|
|Last Day of School Pool Party|
|2018 Mercy Ships Academy Graduates: Jessica (Australia) & Elliot (UK)|
After 9 days of sailing, we docked in Dakar, Senegal for a short visit. While Senegalese officials toured the ship, I was able to get off the ship and explore Senegal. I was especially excited to visit a baobab forest, as baobab trees only grow in a few places around the world (mainland Africa, Madagascar, and Australia).
Leaving Senegal was bittersweet; I'm not sure if or when I might return to Africa.
|Docking in Dakar|
|Senegalese Sand Artist|
|We found a ropes course in the baobab forest!|
|Ziplining Among the Baobabs|
Our summer maintenance period started when we arrived in the Canary Islands. Upon arrival, I said more good-byes, but also a hello to a special visitor: my sister! My sister traveled all the way from Wisconsin to visit me and see my home on the ship. It was really special for me to have someone from home see the ship. We also took some time to enjoy the island of Gran Canaria.
|My sister came all the way to the Canary Islands to see the ship!|
|We spent a morning learning to surf...or trying to anyway!|
On Saturday, June 30, I finished packing, said a few last goodbyes, and cried all the way down the gangway. This ship is a hard place to leave.
Some of the Things I Will Miss (in no particular order):
1. The people
2. Cabin 4331 and my roommates
3. My students and teaching small classes
4. My classroom with windows
5. Living and working alongside people from all over the world
6. Being a part of a life changing ministry
7. The spiritual community
8. My small group
9. Starbucks drinks that cost less than $1
10. Lots of people to play board games with
11. Learning about and experiencing the culture of different African countries
12. Living on the ocean
13. The weather (I got used to the heat and humidity; I'm going to freeze in Minnesota!)