Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All Aboard! Special Visitors' Week

While last week seems like it was rather mundane, this week is quite a frenzy of activity.  There are several special visitors and events taking place this week!

ACSI - The Association of Christian Schools International has representatives here for the final step of the accreditation process for Mercy Ships Academy.  This has been a goal for several years, and a work in progress since 2007 to become accredited as an international school.  This serves many purposes:  1) for the students to receive recognition when applying to colleges and post-secondary options (especially those from non-American origins), 2) for the teachers to get credit for years of service they provide if and when they go back to working for a different district, and 3) to have greater accountability for our school and the academic level that it works hard to maintain.  There are three representatives from ACSI onboard this week, as well as the entire Mercy Ships' School Board.

Kylie is showcasing her writing on diphtheria.

the halls are loaded with amazing schoolwork and projects the kids have been working on

Here's some artwork in the school library being admired by parents on open house night

Savannah holds up her self-portrait, done while looking in a mirror

A Dutch Film Crew - There is a film crew from the Netherlands here that is collecting interviews and footage for a show that will highlight the work being done with Mercy Ships and serve as a great way to generate knowledge and interest in Europe.  This is not the first film crew that has been here in the past three months (I think it might be the fourth??), so it is not uncommon to see a crew member being followed with cameras, microphones and directors making suggestions all the while.

International Board of Mercy Ships - Many of the big wigs of Mercy Ships are headed here this weekend to make decisions and see for themselves how things are going in Sierra Leone with the Africa Mercy.  They will be flying in from several continents over the next few days and we have already been warned not to plan on barging into any conference rooms hoping to be able to set up a board game- since there will be numerous conference calls (with those members telecommuting) taking place. 

The President! No, Obama is not coming - though he would probably draw more fanfare here than he would in the US (I think the ratio of Obama clothing items to people in Sierra Leone is 2:1). 
The Honorable Ernest Bai Koroma, the president of Sierra Leone, is coming to the ship this weekend.  This is a BIG deal and we have special instructions on where we can be, what we can where, and when we can move from place to place!  It is all VERY exciting!
Tonight we had the chance to listen to the Executive Representative to Sierra Leone for the United Nations, Michael von der Schulenburg.  He met our Managing Director in February and was willing to come and speak to all of us about the recent history in Sierra Leone, what the UN's mission here is, and the tension between providing help and promoting independence.  His charismatic and humorous style kept us all attentive (even Savannah) while he talked about the long road to development that Sierra Leone has ahead of her.  (him??)

Please be in prayer as we prepare for this busy week:
  • lots of travel details that could be affected by blowing ash over Iceland (again?? feels like de ja vu!)
  • lots of opportunity for God to be glorified through actions, thoughts and words
  • grace for those who are working around the clock to get all details put together

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