hi all. I am writing you from somewhere off the coast of Western Sahara. The best part of this lovely blue place is that I get to type things like I am writing you from somewhere off the coast of Western Sahara.
While work has been business as usual during the sail, this weekend has been quite different because, well, we are all stuck here. It has actually felt a bit like a weekend at camp. Activities were including, but not limited to: sleeping in, reading books on the porch (er, deck), star gazing, playing Apples to Apples, and (perhaps due to lack of Frisbees and a better idea) “Sock Golf.”
The only difference is that instead of reveille, taps, and maintenance pages that you would enjoy if working at say – a camp in the Texas Hill Country – the Captain’s intercoms are things like “good morning crew, if you’ll take a look outside you’ll see a family of whales, starboard aft.”
Yep. Just a pod (I looked it up) of whales out your window. Nbd.
All in all it has been a wonderful sail. I want to share a few photos with you – but first a story.
On our last evening in the Canaries I had the good luck of meeting Teodoro Mylonas. Teodoro is the 72-year-old, sweet-natured Greek grandfather you never knew you’d always wanted. Originally from Argentina, Teodoro lived in 27 different countries before settling in Tenerife; his father was an officer in the Salvation Army. In true Argentinian fashion, Teodoro pronounces his “ll” with a “j” and shouts a genuine “mah-ma mi-ah!” when he is impressed, excited or shocked.
He first heard about our organization more than 20 years ago when he read in the local paper that the Anastasis, the Africa Mercy’s predecessor, was going to dry-dock in Tenerife. “A ship coming from Africa full with volunteers?” he said to his wife, “This must be it.”
Having grown up in a household where acts of charity were valued highly, Teodoro wanted to witness this hospital ship of volunteers and see what it was all about. A bandmaster and spirited musician, he greeted the Anastasis on the docks of Muelle Cruz with his trumpet. He has since played at every arrival and departure of Mercy Ships’ fleet, more than 30 times since 1990.
“I want to bless the volunteers like they bless others,” he said. Thus, when Mercy Ships is docked in Tenerife, Teodoro acts as a local host, taking crew members to dinner, chauffeuring us on errands in his blue Citroen, stopping by to check on his “brothers,” and of course, heralding the ship’s comings and goings with all of the ceremonial fanfare fit for a king. He calls it “Teodoro’s First Class Treatment.” On Wednesday evening, Teodoro offered to take myself, Chelle and Deb (our wonderful AFM photographers) to the best sunset spot on the island. We grabbed our cameras (and my notebook) for what would be our most memorable night in Tenerife.
Here are a few photos captured during our “First Class Treatment”…
I’d like to end by saying after meeting Teodoro I am inspired to “bless people as they bless others.” His ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude set a wonderful example. Quite appropriately, ‘Teodoro’ means ‘gift from God.’
Gracias por todo, Teodoro! Nosotros le apreciamos y le tomamos con nosotros en nuestros corazones a Africa.
Hope you all had a great weekend :-)