Saturday 6th August

This week is “Sabbath Week”. This happens once a year, and is a week of (comparative) rest and restoration and all of those sorts of things. Just good fortune for us STEPPERs to be here for it this time!

The book-ex is closed totally, and all workers from there are spread out about the ship, and all duties of all departments are cut down, so this means that (say in the deck department), we only have to do 8 hours each in the whole week, plus one day of being on duty (hardly any work, but cannot leave the ship for 24 hours), and one day of doing the garbage for 1 hour in the afternoon, and then done. So pretty light duties.

Every morning there are devotions/teaching/whatever from a special speaker, who this time turned out to be Dale Rhoton (one of the co-founders of O.M). Very cool. The STEPPERs, though, are running the childrens programme every morning, so we have not actually been to any of the devotions. Very good kids, all of them younger than 12, and seem to be very happy with the programme, organized by Jordan.

Yesterday was the ship outing to a waterpark and ocean-world, which I decided not to go on, as I had not had an off-day in 12 days, and my next off-day is on the 15th! So I needed an introvert day, and so stayed on board. There were only about 25 people on board, in all, which is about minimum to keep the ship going, plus a few extras (like me). Good day.

One of the STEPPERs from another of the overnight teams has malaria… she started getting ill during the overnight, so I guess must have picked it up a few weeks ago. She had to be brought back to the ship, and yesterday was taken to the hospital. Apparently she is doing much better though, now. My Big Brother bounced back from malaria after about a week, in total, before being back at work. But he is like that. Rebekah is not so hardy. It would be nice if folk could pray for her, as it is most difficult for her, only being here a few months, and yet getting malaria!

Also the day before yesterday some of the people went out to the city, one group was John (a Malaysian STEPPER) and a group of 5 girls. They were stopped on the road somewhere in the city by a whole group of men, who grabbed John, put a knife to his throat, and forced him to give them his camera, they also tried to get at his wallet, and sliced up his trowsers.

We are all very thankful that they did not hurt him at all physically, although of course he is rather shaken emotionlly. There really was nothing he could do, other than give them what he had. Apparently, from what the South Africans have told us, this is quite a rough area of Durban, and there is quite a lot of crime, and John being the only man in a group of girls was also more likely to get picked on.

Also, he looks ***very*** innocent. He is a very very lovely trusting guy, and doesn’t look like he would hurt a fly. And he looks Asian, and there are quite a lot of Japanese seamen here, who are all rich, and totally un-streetaware, as also, John is, and the muggers apparently can’t tell the difference between Asian-Malaysian, and Asian-Japanese. None of the group knew even the first thing about watching people around them, keeping distances, eye-contact, and so on, either, so in a way it was not really something totally unexpected, but it is very sad, anyway.

Anyway, I’m off to try and get some coffee, and perhaps read a bit, or play clarinet, or drums, or something. I’m on duty and so cannot leave the ship for 24 hours.