Quirks of Ship Life: Personal Space (and, an answered prayer!)

26 January 2013

One of the more difficult quirks of ship life is the lack of personal space.  

I feel somewhat two-faced when it comes to this subject. On one hand, I have very little tolerance for people who complain about their housing.  The reality is fitting 400 crew into a small confined area leads to tight quarters and very little personal space. However, compared to how people live on the ground, like, in a mud hut in the bush, our accommodations are palatial.  I'm very grateful for what we have - comfortable mattresses, air conditioning, hot running water... and have little patience for those people that complain.

However, on the flip side, I'm a person who NEEDS her personal space, quiet time, and peace.  And it's hard to come by here on the Africa Mercy!  

Anyway, when I was here in Sierra Leone I was housed in an 8-berth cabin.  (Berth = 'space', or bed).  There were 4 sets of bunk beds and two bathrooms. Now since I'm a long-term crewmember, I'm in a 4-berth, which is two sets of bunk beds and one bathroom. 

This is my bunk area. I'm on the top.  Now you'll notice there's very little space up there - I can't sit upright, which is somewhat frustrating as then I can really only use my bed for sleeping, not reading, writing, or other activities.  It's also quite a jump to get down in the middle of the night! 

Even more inconvenient is the sprinkler head that is directly above my bed. It didn't quite make it into the above picture, but I smack my head on it nearly every morning as I am trying to crawl out without whacking my forehead on the ceiling.

And just because I know you're curious, here's our bathroom.

As I said before, I'm extremely grateful for our housing and I have little tolerance for complaining.  However, I'll admit to you that I have been praying for an upgrade soon - or at least an opportunity to move to a bottom bunk!  It's been really hard at the end of a long day of chaos at work to come back to a 'home' that is in chaos, with people around and a bunkmate who, while she's a wonderful person, admitted even on the first day she's not the most organized or clean person to live with.  And it's difficult to sleep through someone else coming and going, no matter how quiet they try to be.  I have prayed every single day for more grace to offer, grace for another day... which has been granted, and it's been fine...

But yesterday some dear friends gleefully tossed me a surprise blessing - I get to move!  To a 3-berth! for two whole months!!  A three-berth has three single beds, each with their own 'pod' like space, with a curtain.   My own space.  No more climbing into bed, no more trying to block out the sounds of my bunkmate, no more whacking my head on the sprinkler.  I almost cried. Seriously??  Thank you!!!!!  

Yes, it's only two months, and I may end up back where I was at the end of it. Which is fine. Two whole months of being able to sit up in bed and sleep through the night?? Yes please!!! 

So so so so so grateful.  Tomorrow's moving day!!!  :) Cheers - Krissy

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