About 18 years ago I worked in IT for a small cruise line that own several vintage steam ships. My first transatlantic crossing was onboard a ship named the s/s Rembrandt (also known as Rotterdam, the ocean liner that sailed Queen Juliana of the Netherlands to New York) built-in 1959. We acquired this 1500 passenger beauty from Carnival Cruise – a sweet deal was made where our company believed that we could make this old girl SOLAS compliant for million of dollars less. I was there to meet her on the day that she sailed into Fort Lauderdale’s port. I never seen such a chaotic state of crew disembarking, new administration taking inventory of items as everyone scurried about in different directions. The origins of the crew spanned oceans and seas but each face adorned the same worried mask, a disbelief of the sudden change of itinerary, how to return home, or would they simply be lucky enough to find employment with another cruise line. Cell phones were a luxury – and those who had phones – shared with the crew.
Administration combed over the Rembrandt following the twist of the mahogany timber that molded its structure. Inventory was taking place of all of value, and anything that had a previous stamp of yesterday’s name was being discarded, gifted or taken. I do have a cappuccino set of fine china that was gifted to me that bears the stamp of a Portugal company that supplied all tableware. Ironically it’s stamped with the name “Vasco Da Gama” who was a portuguese explorer who sailed the first voyage to the east and India. I imagined this may have been the same set used on its grand voyage back in the 1950’s. The first lips that sipped from this fine china were perhaps on a body that sat segregated from the classes – missing the diverse riches that only a divine hand could create. This may be the very reason why I haven’t used these cappuccino cups – but simply lugged them around the many moves and didn’t use bubble wrap.
The cappuccino china and memories were all tucked away in the back drawl of my mind. Until today.
Today my eyes are glued to picture after picture of Syrians refugees. Millions, I’m told are displaced. 50% of the displaced are children. 50% of children that are displaced, have loss EVERYTHING. Family. Home. School. Country.
The risk of crossing the mediterranean in an overloaded vessel is a lower risk then to stay in a war zone.
It brought me back onboard a 30-ton liner, as it cruised on a transatlantic voyage to reposition itself into the port of Palma de morocco. It took 4 days to cross the Atlantic, and when the hull sailed into the Strait of Gibraltar, there was no doubt that we weren’t in the Atlantic any longer. We encountered 20-30 feet waves and our cruise liner was tossed around like a small tub boat.
I held my breath as I think of how these refugees travel in these small over crowded vessels crossing the monster of the med.
Then I hear the words again…the risk of the crossing the mediterranean is a lower risk then to stay in a war zone.
So, tonight on the eve of a holiday weekend with the kiddos having a long weekend off and us to enjoy them….I’m heavy hearted about the divide. the divide between bringing heaven to earth.. and understanding someone’s daily hell. With knowing that some kiddos are fighting for the lives to make it out of their country. Kiddos that were made from the same Divine hands.
Maya Angelou once said that we can not do for everyone but we can do for someone. I keep thinking…if we could just look to our right, and help a brother and sister that’s right next to us – would that make a difference. Start a movement that would start a wave around the world where everyone is taken care of.
It starts with awareness and the knowing that we are not segregated.
All drinking from the same cup.