Jeremy and Ruth Pollard, on board with their children Mia, Campbell, Oliver & Lucas
Jeremy is the principal of the combined preschool, primary and secondary school for the 50 crew children on board the hospital ship Global Mercy
Ruth’s focus is being a busy mum of four, while she uses her nursing experience in operating theatre administration.
A school on a ship?
Jeremy surprisingly says there are many elements that resonate between his previous rural Waikato school and the Mercy Ships Academy.
He agrees it has been a steep learning curve for children all across the globe, shipboard or ashore, to adapt to wearing masks in class, to social distancing and be assigned to a Bubble. “Kids are pretty much same. It doesn’t matter where they come from, they are always curious, they’re amazing people, and they’re resilient.”
Same but different
“The biggest difference would be the environment. The lack of fields, gym or playing areas means we have to adapt our curriculum to make sure that we catering for the needs in a ship environment – a floating environment. Really, that’s a big change.”
He gives an example of playtime for the children. “Our PE sessions are carried out in a small area, so we have to adapt the games to ensure that they’re getting just as much running in a smaller environment.”
It takes a village
Ruth makes a point of keeping the family’s eye on the Big Picture of the Mercy Ships mission to provide essential health care services for the vulnerable in some of Africa’s lowest-income countries. The children play an important role in making the ships’ communities feel like home for all the crew
As Principal, Jeremy’s role is to support the crew, which enables the medics, mariners and senior leaders who have families to bring them on their tour-of-duty – which is usually two to three years at a time.
“We just know it was the right decision for us. And we look forward to how we can bring hope and healing to many, hopefully, in the years to come.”
What the kids have to say
Mia, Oliver, Campbell and Lucas take us on a tour of the other Mercy Ships they called home. They visit all their important places, and give a frank and often hilarious insight into life on board, – from a kids’ perspective.