Keith R. Brinkman serving with Mercy Ships. This is another way for me to communicate with you all what is happening. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and entries.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Braai in Port Elizabeth

During our time in South Africa, we have our Eye Teams working, but not here in Kwa Zulu Natal, but in the Eastern Cape. I was invited to join our Managing Director and Brenda as we went down there to see how they are doing. The first night we enjoyed a traditional South African Braai with our Braai Master, Mr. John Rae.

Kragga Kamma Game Park

Kragga Kamma Game Park was recommended by a friend's brother as a place to visit - I spent 2 1/2 hours there and it was amazing how close to the animals - I enjoyed watching the giraffes as you see in this photo of three of them.

Seaview Game Lion Park

Even though these white lions are in a large enclosure and not in the wild - it was amazing to watch them during a visit to the Seaview Game / Lion Park in the Eastern Cape. There are not that many of them still living.

Addo Elephant Park

Addo Elephant Park
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
Here in South Africa, Friday was a national holiday. I had been with the Eye Teams who are working in the Eastern Cape and so I stayed a bit longer and spent the day at Addo Elephant Park - so close to the world's largest land mammal. I loved just watching them from the vehicle.

Howick Falls

.Howick Falls
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
On last Saturday, I was able to join two families as their 9th person in the Land Rover vehicle and we travelled almost 100 km to the Howick Falls as you see behind me in the photo - then we went to a very kid friendly restaurant before stopping for some shopping and heading back to Appelsbosch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Church Leaders - Whole Person Ministry - KRCC

Even though during this season in South Africa, we are not able to use our hospital on board - we do still have some programs active in the country - Dental, Eyes and Mental Health. While on the Advance Team, I was responsible to coordinate the mental health/whole person ministry / counseling training program. The photo is of our first group - church leaders from all over the Kwa-Zulu Natal province - 32 attended the 5 day course. Currently, Dr. Lyn and Clementine are working in Pongo with 22 church leaders and next week in Eshowe.

Picking up Clementine at King Shaka Int'l

Durban South Africa has a new airport which just opened on May 1, 2010 in time for the World Cup games here - the airport is called King Shaka International. Our friend Clementine hates to sail as she gets so sick - someone provided for her and she instead flew. Naomi and I had the privilege to collect her from the airport. Many of the World Cup advertising is still around 'Africa United' - representing the six African nations who participated.


Appelsbosch is our new home for four months. While on the Advance Team, one of our big responsibilities was looking for possible off ship housing. This place is a former college campus and so it provided enough dormitory space and classroom space for our Academy. The property has not been used in many years and so it took some cleaning up.

Convoy to Appelsbosch

For the move off of the non-technical crew, we had moving trucks for our belongings, two buses and 13 of the ship vehicles for the journey. I was driving the lead vehicle with the Finance Director and Ship Security Officer. What would only take 90 minutes normally, took us over 3 hours, but everyone arrived safely. The day was cool, light rain and a bit of wind as it is spring time here.

Move to Appelsbosch

Move to Appelsbosch
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
Over 100 adults and 47 children moved off the Africa Mercy within 24 hours of our arrival into South Africa. This is required by the shipyard for safety reasons, etc. It was an 'all hands on deck' moving party to get all the personal belongings, work items and over 240 boxes for the Academy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

KRB Update #2158 September 1, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Arrival in South Africa

Greetings from eThekwini (Durban) Kwa-Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa. We have arrived at the shipyard in the harbor in Durban and we enter into a new season for the ship and for us the crew members.

But first, the sail… we left Togo around noon on Sunday August 15th for the long sail to South Africa. We practiced our drills for emergencies and secured everything in our cabins and work spaces for sailing. While still prior to going around the point of the African continent, we hit some bad weather for about three days – see the below photos to give you an idea. In total, we traveled over 3,400 nautical miles (6,290 km or 3,910 1.15 mile) arriving in Durban this morning. I was able to work at my desk just like normal – though sometimes the monitor moved a bit much for my eyes.

For the ship, she will undergo the replacement of our electrical generators, main switchboard, upgrades to our air conditioning units for decks 5, 6, & 7 plus various other projects. The goal with the new generators to reduce the noise and vibrations and their affect on the hospital on deck 3 and throughout the ship.

For us in Programs, we will be active on a smaller scale as do not have the platform of the ship and the hospital available to us. The Eye Team will be working in another province in partnership with our Mercy Ships Southern Africa office and a local foundation at three hospital locations for three weeks each. The Dental Team will be at various rural locations in the Kwa-Zulu Natal area at the discretion of the Department of Health. Our Mental Health Team will be in four rural areas providing training sessions in basic mental health assessment and counseling skills for churchleaders in partnership with three local Christian Councils.

In my role as Programs Administrator, I still have much to do related to the close out of our time in Togo – 14 official final project reports and 11 unofficial reports. I will continue to support the programs teams working on the field. Then I have a couple projects to work on, before shifting gears as we look at the possibility of public relations in Durban and Cape Town. Plus we will be deploying our Sierra Leone advance team in mid October and so I will serve as their liaison on board the ship.

Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** My completion of the many reports – that they will be complete and full of integrity **Training Participants – with the eye project in the Eastern Cape and for the 75 church leaders participating in the mental health training ** Our community as we are separated between those still on the ship (primarily in the technical departments) and the families and others (I am an ‘other’) who are living over 100 km away at a former government college campus.