Lots of people are feeling a bit low. But also most people are really excited to be going home. I am too, of course, but they are excited to be leaving the ship. I'm not.
I am really looking forward to being back in Larnaka, seeing family again, and so on. And I have so many things which I want to do. I want to learn to cook, for instance. If I come back to Doulos, then I want to be able to cook myself some pasta or calzonies or something occasionally. There are pantries which anyone can use scattered about the ship (I think we have 4 or so...).
Part of my feeling depressed though is not to do with leaving, or with missing other people, because generally I'm quite good about that. Because I have been on the Doulos twice before, it's not a"never see Doulos again" thing, either, which some of the people have (the ones living in the USA) a bit. And as I want to come back again anyway, I hopefully will see quite a lot of the other people again anyway.
I think part of why I am feeling depressed is because I feel like I have not really acomplished anything much. I have had so many wonderful experiences, these last 2 months, and met so many amazing people, and seen such fantastic things (I'm running out of adjectives here), and yet feel as if I have actually contributed very little.
Our STEP-mum says that that is quite normal to feel a bit like that, but not to worry, as (a) she is quite happy with me, and (b) *when* I come back for 2 years, I will have much more chance to be envolved with the Drama Group, music, and so on, as well as more chance to contribute in other ways too... But yeah.
Rebekah is still recovering from malaria, she is fully better, but is still weak, and she lost a lotof weight, and flying is never the most stressless experiences anyway.
The farewell thing tonight has a program of the following:
20:00 Welcome - STEP-mum
20:02 Thank you - Co-Director
20:20 Certificates - STEP-mum
20:30 Step participation:
Parade of Nations (AV-People) - everyone prepares 30 sec of talk - carrying T.A.N.Z.A.N.I.A. S.T.E.P. letters
Slideshow (raffi) Sing a song (nanana - goodbye)
Thank You & read a verse (Jenny)
21:00 End in prayer- STEP-mum
So, yeah. The "Parade of Nations" is a I-night item, where they put on this extremely annoying repetative dramatic music, and all the people envolved go forward wearing their national dress, and get announced by someone far too enthusiastically and everyone claps.
That is the cynical "I'm still depressed and everyone ought to blooming well know about it" version.
I was on watch when they did the meeting about this, and arranged it all, so I have about as much idea about the rest of it as you do. I shall just turn up and do whatever they ask me to. This totally typifies our group though. Some people not at the planning meeting, a few people will not be at the farewell (they missed work and so are not allowed to miss it again tonight), a few people not even sure what's happening, and 1 person already left. As they say on board: Wunderbar.
I found some pictures of one of the previous pre-ship training weeks on the scratch network drives today. Very cool. But I think I will learn to swim before I come back to Doulos too... one of the training items envolves having to un-capsize an inflatable life-raft in a swimming pool, and learning to put on a lifejacket while swimming too.
I went out to the town this afternoon with 2 of the others. One STEPPER who "needed" to buy a few more gifts for family, bf and so on, and her friend, the SP of one of the other STEPPERs, and myself. We took a taxi to the beach front, and there went to a whole load of various touristy stalls, selling loads of random ethnic-looking-probably-factory-made-oh-so-African things.
My goodness. I just read that sentance again. I must be feeling cynical today.
We walked around for a while, until they ran(d) out of money, (that's a pun) and so we looked for an ATM machine. We walked until we saw a sign for one, down an alleyway, mostly deserted, heading off into a kind of beach/cafe complex thing.
One of them was just starting to walk down the alley, but I called her back. I just did not feel happy about that alley. It was too far from anyone else, not a lot of people, only a few 20yo men hanging around. First time I have ever felt distinctly unsafe, and refused to go somewhere. The girls were joking about me being their Body Guard, and yeah.
So we walked back, and found another more public road which actually led to the cafe with the ATM machine. It didn't work. Just outside the cafe was a police car, so we went to ask the officer, and he said "Yeah. Well, if you get in the car, I can drive you to a better one. This is not one of the safer areas of town." So I got to ride in a police car!
Anyway. Cool. Very nice guy, he even waited for her at the ATM machine and then drove us back to the seafront. The police here are really good, apparently.
Later on we met a homeless couple, who made complex artwork things out of dried palm fronds, and were selling them at 5 Rand each, because they wanted to make an honest living, they said. So we bought a few (extremely good), and then later met another homeless couple, who wanted some money to buy some special milk for their age-2 daughter (who was with them) as she was lactose intolerent, they said.
We wern't that naive, and one of the girls said "If we buy you some, and then give it to you, is that OK?" they said sure, so they (perhaps unwisely) found a taxi, and we went off to try and find some. We did, eventually, and came back, and drove up and down the seafront once looking for them but could not, and so, after praying, gave up, and went back.
We missed the gate at the port, and ended up driving much further than needed. Still, the taxi fare was about 5 pounds (10 dollars) in total, for all 3 of us, which is not too extravagent, I guess.
We are not supposed to leave the port except in cars, as it is not safe. Too many people have been mugged in this area. You have to keep cars locked, even while in them, never open windows more than a few inches while in the city, and so on, because of hijacking being so common.
Anyway. We gave the lactose-free milk power to the taxi driver for his niece, who he said was also lactose intolerant. He said he will try to visit the ship sometime before we all leave. Andrew (my cabinmate) finally left later, once we were back. Quite sad.
Oh, last night, as well as the water-gun Fireround, he took 3 or so black-binliner bags full of old scrap paper he had salvaged from the office departments, and then had put through the shredder, and tipped it out all over the floor of the one bathroom in the girls section. A place totally forbidden to guys to enter, but he said that as he didn't really want to come back anyway, there was nothing they could do to him, and he thought it would be worth it.
Many of the girls had seen him shredding paper earlier yesterday, and so it was hardly anonymous. Apparently a few years ago practical jokes along these lines, and even worse, were quite common... but the current Captain and Director don't really appreciate them, and so they are discouraged. (The jokes are discouraged. Not the Captain and Director.)
Things like when a new lot of recruits arrived, after their firedrill training, they would get woken up at about 2am, and told by random people dressed in full fire-gear that there was a drill on, and so when they went to their muster-stations, they would get heartily doused with the firehose. Good, typical, harmless expected types of things. But apparently it might cause people to stop believing real fire drills in the future... I can see their point, but in that particular instance, I don't think it really does. It didn't harm the previous recruits...
Anyway. That kind of thing is up to the Captain and Director, and if they don't like it, fair enough.
Anyway. Us STEPPERs just got paged to go meet up. I think something to do with this