How to Handle the Dirt of 50 People – by Gereon


At home, Saturday means weekend. It means relaxing, no school and that one can sleep as long as one wants to. Onboard the Thor Heyerdahl, Saturday brings along a lot of work. You see, we are at the age where our parents do not tell us to clean our rooms anymore, so no one complains about the smell. However, our rooms at home are completely untidy. On board, Saturday means that we have to clean up.
We have to clean up every day. One hour in our routine every day is for cleaning different areas of the ship. However, on Saturdays, we have to clean for many hours! This is not only limited to our bunks and the shelves where we keep all our things. Additionally, it means we have to clean the ENTIRE ship. From the main deck to the mess room to the workshop. Furthermore, it includes scrubbing the floors, reorganizing loose objects and cleaning every single corner until it looks like on the first day of our trip – neat and tidy, nice and clean.  If we are lucky, we also get half an hour to clean our own cabins, make the bunks and tidy up before the close cabin inspection by our ship’s council (a group of four students, the captain, the project manager, one teacher and one crew member) checks the ship.
For the actual cleaning, we are split into our watches, four teams of around eight students, then every group is given a separate area that is their responsibility to clean: The mess room and the companionways with the library, the surfaces on deck, the storage with the engine room and the toilets and showers. Some people sweep the floors with a broom, others clean up cupboards or clean the floor with water. We also have to remove any water that has entered into the hull of our ship and we have to wipe all the surfaces and there are a lot. One of the favorite tasks of the pupils is polishing the ship’s bell or the compass that we navigate with, because on the metal you can actually see the differences between when you start and when you have finished. The opposite of this job is cleaning the wall inside the ship because you cannot see any difference between before and after. After cleaning, the areas get inspected by a team consisting of adult crew members, and pray for those groups who left a bit of dirt and got caught.
You might expect there to be a lot of complaining about this duty, but actually, the mood is always really fun! The reason for this is because we clean together in groups with our cabin or watch members. We know that they do not like cleaning either, for this reason we tell a lot of jokes to make everyone laugh and relax. The adults who are cleaning with us participate in keeping up the good mood, because cleaning with music and laughter is so much better than without!
All in all, it is fun to clean with the others and maybe somebody will tidy up his or her cabin even before the big cleaning session. By this, our home, the Thor Heyerdahl, looks even nicer and we might get some extra time before the ship’s council arrives.

I would like to send all my love to my wonderful family!