This Blog serves as two things: a photo-diary of our lives between 2007 and mid 2011, when we saw some incredible things and met some amazing people; and a reflection of our more normal lives since then.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Comedy toes

Anna had surgery on both in-growing toenails on Tuesday. She now sports the latest in comedy toes. Bless! Olly

Sunday, 10 August 2014

New Wine

We have just returned from an AWESOME week at New Wine. And what a week! 15,000 people in the glorious Somerset countryside, in quite good weather too, worshipping and learning all about our great God!

Below, view across the campsite towards the massive Soul Survivor marquee which begins week commencing 11th August.

Below, inside The Arena, with 6,000 other people with worship led by none other than Martin Smith.

Below, in Libby's kids club (Rock Solid) with a genuine Series 3 Land Rover as part of the stage...

...and with a gunge tank! The site is the home to the Royal Bath & West Agricultural Show, so there are usually cows on display in these buildings; the army of New Wine kids leaders did an amazing job of converting them into very cool venues for the kids. 

Yeah, it was an awesome week and now we're suffering from that post-festival low that follows such an event. And yeah, we'll be booking tickets soon for 2015! Olly

Saturday, 2 August 2014

"Ebola Out Of Control" says British Press

Although West Africa's Ebola crisis has been around for six months, it has only just hit the British press, probably because two of the Sierra Leone Commonwealth Games Team have just had (negative) tests, and also because a couple of Americans are now infected. 

Today's Mirror has a big article on it's front page - click here to read their online version. Olly

No sex for 45 days?

One of Liberia's many information posters about how Ebola is spread. On the left is Dr Gwenigale, Minster of Health and long time friend of Mercy Ships; a guy who has just about the hardest job in the world right now. Olly

Friday, 1 August 2014

New family photo

We've just come back from a lovely week away in Devon. Here's a cool photo taken on Berry Head, Brixham, of Noah (14), Anna (12) and Libby (9). Olly

R.I.P. Bobby Weah

This is my good mate Bobby Weah. He worked for me back in 2006 when we lived ashore in Monrovia. He always worked REALLY hard, and no job was too much trouble for him. If I remember rightly he lost his family during the war, and was homeless. He had an amazing American rapper accent, which I can only assume he got from watching American music videos.

I learned today that he has died of Ebola. Apparently he was one of the bleach teams at ELWA Hospital, but contracted the disease and died. RIP Bobby. Olly

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Surfing Sierra Leone

There's a great article on the BBC's website about a surf resort that has opened on Bureh Town Beach - where we spent many happy hours on our last trip to Freetown - click on  to read full article. Olly

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Great t-shirt

I stumbled upon this t-shirt on the world wide web, which made me laugh - it says "drive it like it's UNMIL" in reference to the high speed, aggressive and antisocial driving typical of (some) UNMIL staff...

T-shirt made by the African T-Shirt Co. Get them whilst they're hot. Olly

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Kissi Money

Kissi money is the name for an iron currency made in the Kissi country of Sierra Leone that circulated widely between the 1880s and the 1940s in the immediate vicinity of its production among the Gbandi, Gola, Kissi, Kpelle, Loma, Mandinka and Mende and other people of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Kissi money still features today on Liberian bank-notes:

And bizarrely, not long ago my parents bought a box of junk at an auction house in rural west of England that contained 40 pieces of Kissi money! Small world eh?


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Liberia in the news: Liberian students may need to study harder

Liberian students may need to study harder
None of Liberia's nearly 25,000 school-leavers passed this year's admission exam. A University of Liberia official said they did not have a basic grasp of English.
A student at a university in Liberia
Ten years after the end of the West African nation's civil war, many schools lack basic education material and teachers are poorly qualified.
For full article click here.

Monday, 23 December 2013

A new Mercy Ship

It looks like the deal has been done: "Mercy Ships has announced that it has reached an agreement with Asian and European shipbuilding firms to purpose-build a new 36,600-GRT hospital ship for Mercy Ships. Contracts were signed between Mr. Dong Qiang, VP of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), and Donald K. Stephens, President/ Founder of Mercy Ships, together with Jim Paterson, Senior VP of Mercy Ships Marine Operations." 

For full article click here or go to 

Happy Birthday Libby

Libby was 9 yesterday! 


Banana wagon

Thank you blk24ga for this brilliant photo s/he took recently in Monrovia.


Sunday, 20 October 2013


Last week, Noah and I drove to Birmingham and brought home a 20 year old caravan

Its got 5 berths, a little bathroom, running water etc, and we hope it will open up England to us, as it will provide us with cheap accommodation. PLUS we have bought tickets to next year's New Wine, and are already looking forward to spending a week next August with our church family and meeting up with old friends...Olly

Sherborne transformed

RIGHT NOW, Fox Searchlight have taken over the centre of our home town, Sherborne, and have transformed it into a set for their latest movie, Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd". The crew have been at work for 2 or 3 days already, and this afternoon the spotlights are being set up. The RVs and caravans for the actors haven't arrived yet - they have parking spaces reserved for tomorrow - but the Horse Crew are already installed, as can be seen by the horse droppings on the street (which Libby thinks were put there as props...). Below, our 900 year old abbey with the 1901 set...

...complete with the turn-of-the-century street fair:

Below, Half Moon Street with the shops being transformed into old fashioned grocers, haberdashers and iron mongers. Brown tape has been put over the modern window frames, and artificial doors are being placed over the modern doors. Before filming starts, all the TV arials will be taken down too...

How exciting. Olly

Monday, 7 October 2013

Baptising Anna

Yesterday we baptised Anna, at our church in Yeovil. We are very proud of her, especially that she still lives for Christ despite being back in the real world. Thank you for all your good-wishes via Facebook.

And I got wet too! It was a busy service, with 9 baptisms in all. Olly

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Olly's book review

I noticed this book on the shelves of our good friends the Kronesters in Germany a couple of weeks ago, so I ordered a copy for myself...which is fascinating reading. Ma Ellen is well educated, focused, knowledgable woman, who has lived through Liberia in peacetime, and under Doe's terrible regime, and under Taylor's terrible regime, and under a transitional government, and now Liberia under her own government...and yet the country is still a mess! Come on Ma Ellen. Sort it out!


Liberian Fish and Greens

In May, I planted sweet potatoes in our greenhouse. They have grown like crazy, spreading foliage everywhere, even between the panes of glass and onto the vegetable patch outside. I'm not growing them for the roots, but for the leaves, which every good Liberian will know are delicious cooked with fish and rice:

The leaves and stalks are sliced thinly and fried with onions, hot peppers, water and a stock cube...
Meanwhile Sally fried sliced ripe plantains a la Mama Gina (oh how we miss you, Gina!)...

...and wolfed down by hungry Liberian and Brits alike.


Thursday, 29 August 2013 reunion

We spent the last couple of weeks with our German family, the Kronesters, who we used to live with on the Africa Mercy and who now live in Bavaria and who run the Mercy Ships Germany office. We spent a couple of days in the foothills of the German Alps before the weather deteriorated, and took some lovely photos against the spectacular scenery. 

Ah, what a great time we had. What a lovely place. Thank you for your hospitality, Ines and Udo. You drove us many hundreds of miles, introduced us to many great places and sights, and gave us great food and company. We wish we were still with you in your beautiful home. Olly

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Ten years of peace

On 17th August 2003, Charles Taylor left Liberia and went into exile in Nigeria. And thus the peace process started, culminating in the arrival of Nigerian lead peacekeepers in September 2003 on behalf of ECOWAS. Now UNMIL - the United Nations Mission in Liberia - has made released an excellent (but low-res) short video about the last ten years of peace in Liberia - click here to watch it. Olly

Thursday, 4 July 2013


One of the many things that I miss about West Africa is the deep soulful sound of the djembe drum, so when I recently stumbled across a company in London that imports them from a master drum maker in Ghana, I ordered one quickly. It arrived yesterday, and I am absolutely thrilled with it! It is beautifully made from African tweneboa cedar timber cut from managed forests, and goat skin, and decorated with carved patterns...and it sounds great too. 

The djembe has been an instant hit in our household, and is a popular favourite of a certain young lady who might have Africa in her veins...

It came with a free carrying bag, the outside of which is typical brightly coloured African fabric and the inside of which is an old flour sack from a milling company in Tema! Ah, how it brought back memories.

So go check out to see the company's profile, and see what other products they import. Below, a photo of the drum makers at work.