Las Palmas looks like Paradise… sorry it is Paradise. Beautiful beaches, bright flowers and palm trees everywhere. The people are friendly, the tapas are delicious, the gelato to die for and the sunsets steal your breath.
But as I walk home each night I remember this isn’t simply a vacation, that home is on a ship in a busy shipyard. Where shortly after waking up I hear the constant noise of jackhammers breaking up the cement so the train tracks can be removed from the hospital floors. And this beautiful symphony of jackhammers, saws, vacuums, etc doesn’t stop for hours. You get used to it though, because when the unplanned blackout hits you find yourself unsure about all the silence. And then there’s the limited hot water because we are only running on one generator while others get maintenance completed. I thought I’d gotten two minute showers down to an art, I’ve now mastered the one minute ice cold shower.
But as difficult as it all sounds it actually doesn’t bother me so much. I’m used to the seeing ceiling tiles and insulation removed and propped against the wall and to the wet dog smell in some of the hallways I helps as I see how hard everyone is working, some paid Spanish Port workers but most volunteers like me, who’ve have given up time to come and work on electrical stuff, install new flooring, repair pipes and such, implement a new cable system, help set up the new CT scanner, and rebuild the Galley. All so that when we set sail for Congo we can be fully functioning and hit the ground running.