#2: Sailing Around the World w/ Archbishop Tutu

I have better pictures of him than this one. But this one totally captures the spirit and energy that Archbishop brought to the ship. Some of the students and staff lovingly nicknamed him “Toots” which I thought was funny, but out of deference (sp?) I could never bring myself to say.

It was phenomenal to have him on board for a number of reasons, both personal and professional.

1. His spirit and energy are one of the reasons that the executive team believes that we had such a phenomenal voyage. We had very few major issues/disasters to deal with and didn’t dismiss anyone for academics or behavior which is unheard of.

2. Spiritual advisor. Archbishop hosted “church” on Sundays for small groups of people. A wonderful sunrise fellowship and nice way to start the day. He also performed a ship-wide Easter Sunday service which was beautiful, funny and ended with a moment of reflection and tossing carnations into the sea off the back deck.

3. Celebrity. Actually this was a non-issue. Everyone treated him like he was just…another voyager, of course people wanted to share meals, etc. but I was proud of the fact that as a community we didn’t overreact to having Archbishop on board. People were respectful and he was so visible and always about that we spent plenty of time with him. Even when we found out he had won the Gandhi Peace Prize, we were cool. When we found out he was doing a Vanity Fair spread w/ Brad Pitt photographed by Annie Leibowitz…we were a little less cool, but still cool.

4. One to one. I still can’t believe that I had dinner at his home, with his wife and friends. I can’t believe I got to attend his Church in Capetown, I had breakfast or dinner with him several times on board, he and I always put our hands together when we passed each other in the hallway, we didn’t even have to stop, we just pressed our knuckles together, smiled and kept on going. He touched my face one day and told me I had a nice smile and beautiful complexion. He autographed a book for my mom. He prayed over us all and led our shipboard tribute for Virginia Tech.

5. He inspired the students to create a plan of action to protest the situation in Burma. That is still developing, the students are still going full steam using technology such as Facebook and conference calls to get the leadership together. It has been inspiring to watch them grow with his tuttelage.

Educator, Mentor, Pastor, Friend, Shipmate. Toots.

3 thoughts on “#2: Sailing Around the World w/ Archbishop Tutu”

  1. dia, that’s a great picture of him! I wish I had more.. but always felt rude taking them- PLUS I was always in the booth whenever he was in the union. HRMPFF!

  2. you are welcome, and THANK YOU! I would follow your blog all over again, it was funny, insightful and heartwarming. I’ve already got the book outlined.

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