Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mercy Ships Training in Texas

I got here to the Mercy Ships International Operations Center in Texas for training safe and sound. So far I've been here 3 weeks but I feel like I've been here much longer. Everyone here is very nice. Many different countries are represented including Australia, Germany, England, New Zealand, Wales, Canada and of course the US.

The first day we were here it starting snowing! They only get snow every few years here so it is quite an event. It means all of us who packed for hot Africa are a little chilly though. Fortunately they give us plenty of opportunities to go to the local Walmart to stock up on warm clothes. 

Our common room 

We have training classes from 8am until 5pm. In between we trek up to the cafeteria and eat a hearty home-cooked meal which usually includes lots of Texas beef.  After class and dinner we can go back to the dorms. 

Miriam, from New Zealand
Harriet,  from England
There are 2-4 people to a bedroom and there is a nice common room as well as kitchenettes and a laundry. I have two roommates, Harriet and Miriam who are from England and New Zealand.  They both make me laugh all the time. 

At night we do homework, play games, puzzles, or hang out in the common room. Recently we discovered there is a Wally-Ball court on the campus which is a really nice stress reliever.

This week we are learning Fire safety and first aid. So far I've learned how to put my fire gear on in less than a minute and practiced fighting all the different types of fires. Tomorrow we are going to practice water safety and rescue. 

We are also spending this time to prepare for the Field Service project we'll be doing for 2 weeks when we get to Sierra Leone. There is an orphanage for disabled children in Freetown and we will be working with them to repair the building and do activities with the kids. 

I only have one week left in Texas before we leave for Sierra Leone. I've gotten to know a lot of great people so far and I'm really excited that I'll get to serve with them once I get to the ship as well. It's like I already know my co-workers before I start work! I still miss home and all the people I love, but I'm getting more excited. I also found out that I'll be living on the ship in a cabin on the 4th deck with 3 other roommates. It even has a little window!