On 28 August, the Danish Seaman’s Church held its annual event ‘Martha Evening’, where the church shows the old seaman’s movie ”Martha” on a big screen and serves what they call a classic Martha menu. The movie is a Danish comedy from 1967 and is basically about the good ship “Martha”, an old rust heap that is much loved by the crew.
12 people had signed up for the event. Most of the participants were men and some of them old sailors. This was also the first Martha Evening for the new assistants couple Laila, 49, and Søren Sørensen, 54, and the turn-up was not what they expected.
“We had heard that around 50 people signed up for it,” Søren said.
The Danish couple has been assistants in the Danish Seaman’s Church in Singapore since April and handles a broader spectrum of administrative work at the church. According to Laila the job came at a time when there was a need for change.
“Søren got tired of his job as a gravedigger and church warden at home and quit, and then this job opening appeared,” says Laila.
Laila then quit her job as a flower decorator, and the couple took a big move from Sønder Rind near Viborg to Singapore. Here the couple works closely with the minister of the church, and where Laila’s main job is in the church kitchen, organising the menu and catering for the church events. Søren’s job consists mainly in visiting the workers at the shipyards or at the ships that dock at Singapore.
“We have this big schedule of when and which ships that come here, and then it’s my job to reach out, and ask if anyone has a need to talk to me. And most of the time there is,” Søren says.
He spends a lot of time in the weekends visiting the ships, while weekdays is spent at the shipyards. Other than that the couple is also responsible for the different events that the church arrange. When asked if the job was different from their past ones the couple first laughs and then nods their heads.
“Yes. Very different. But that’s what we came here for. It’s an adventure,” says Laila.
They both agree that now was the right time to do a thing such as moving to Asia. It had to be when their children were grown up, but before they became too old themselves, they explain. The couple has a contract with the church for two years, with the possibility of extending, and when asked if they had settled in so far, they both nodded in approval. None of them seem to think it’s been a problem so far.
“I actually thought the heat would take much longer to get used to,” comments Laila.