A Whole Lot of Spanish Sun

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August 2, 2017 by kshearon12

Most of my on-boarding and I arrived in the Canary Islands a little under two weeks ago and it is crazy how quickly the time has gone.  My days have been full of seeing new sights, organizing, working and trying to remember anything from my high school Spanish classes.  It is ironic that for the past few years I have been trying to not confuse my {few} Spanish nouns and verbs with the new French ones I have been learning and now I need to try and remember them again.  Only for a few more days because Friday is sail day!!  This also means a VERY limited WiFi connection so I am trying to get in contact with family and friends and get this blog out before the fast connection is cut off.

So where/what exactly are the Canary Islands?  Before working with Mercy Ships I had no idea this little archipelago of islands just west of Morocco existed much less belonged to Spain.  They once were an important trade route stop for Spanish galleons on their way to the Americas.  Christopher Columbus has a house here where it is said be stayed when his ships came through.  Needless to say it is a gorgeous spot and it feels great to be in Europe for a bit.  Today the Canary Islands is called the “Bahamas of Europe” and is a popular beach holiday for many Europeans.  This means gorgeous beaches, drive-able roads, fun places to eat, sights to see, and lots of gelato stops!  Here are a few photos from my travels around the island; the ship is docked in Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria which is the third largest island.

 

My first weekend on the ship a few friends and I rented a car and did a circle drive around the island.  We stopped at a lovely coffee plantation (the only one in Europe) and vineyard.  It was a gorgeous spot and interesting to learn about the different methods of harvesting coffee beans and grapes for wine.  They even built their wine cellar around ancient volcanic boulders.  Further down the coast we stopped for lunch and I made a donkey friend and we also stopped for gelato in a little beach town.  It was a full yet fun day.  Some of the roads here are crazy narrow and wind around the cliffs that plunge into the sea.  Here are a few examples that aren’t the best photos, but you get the idea.

One of my favorite areas of Las Palmas is called Old Town and it oozes with Spanish charm and many of the buildings date back to the 1400s.  A giant cathedral graces the main square and spidery cobblestone streets weave past cafes, homes and shops.  On Sundays there is an outdoor market and traditional Spanish dancers.  I could wander those streets all day, sip a coffee and just people watch.  Next trip I guess!

With all these things to see and do it is important to remember that we live in a working shipyard.  Earlier this summer the Africa Mercy was put into dry dock which means the ship is lifted out of the water so maintenance can be done on the bottom of the ship.  Thankfully, she was already put back into the water by the time I arrived but many other ships have been steadily worked on while we have been there.  Also, wearing a hard hat is a must when walking from the ship to the port gate during working hours!

Now you may be asking, have you been doing any work at all or just exploring?  Never fear, I have put in quite a few hours getting organized and last week I helped host two engineers that were visiting to preform preventive maintenance on a few of our instruments. This will help ensure that they are in tip-top shape for our Cameroon field-service. I even took a picture or two as proof:

The next few days will be busy ones as we secure the ship for sailing and get all the last minute projects (and gelato runs!) in.  As much of a blessing as it has been to call the Canaries home for a few weeks I am ready to get started serving the people of Cameroon. Ship yard is important to make sure our ship, our instruments and even ourselves are in peak condition to do the work God has placed before us.  Without this element of “self care” we couldn’t do what we do best:  offer life saving surgeries to the people of Africa.  What a blessing this is.

Here is one last view of Las Palmas (right) and a really fun mural wall we found at the edge of the tourist packed beach boardwalk (left).

A few prayer requests as we set off:

  • That all the last projects are completed
  • For a safe and calm sail to Cameroon (should take about 12 days)
  • A smooth transition in Cameroon and in getting the hospital all set up

“To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.”  -Oliver Wendel Holmes

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” -Psalm 37:3

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Disclaimer

This is my personal blog. I am serving with the organization Mercy Ships but the views, thoughts and opinions here are my own. For more information from the official Mercy Ships site please go here:

http://www.mercyships.org

Thanks!

Connect

Sending mail to Africa can be a challenge. Here are a few ways to contact me while I am away:

E-mail:
kshearon12@gmail.com

Crew Mail: Letters, cards and other flat things

Kathy Shearon — Hospital
M/V Africa Mercy — Crew Mail
P.O. Box 2020
Lindale, TX 75771

Container: packages of any kind, please note these will take up to 2-3 months to arrive to the ship

Kathy Shearon — Hospital
M/V Africa Mercy — For Container
P.O. Box 2020
Lindale, TX 75771

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