Only Student In Mjóifjörður Taught By Her Mother

Jóhanna Björg Sævarsdóttir is entering 9th grade and is the only student in Grunnskóli Mjóafjarðar (Elementary School of Mjóifjörður) this winter, Austurfrétt reports. Jóhanna will be taught by her mother Erna Ólafsdóttir and will be the only student in the school for the second year running.

The student count in Mjóifjörður has gradually receded in recent years, leaving Jóhanna as the only student. The school has been run in cooperation with Nesskóli elementary school in nearby Neskaupstaður since Mjóifjörður was incorporated into the municipality of Fjarðabyggð.

“She had a choice to go away this winter but she couldn’t bear to”, her mother Erna commented. “Us two went quite a lot to Norðfjörður last winter, and the situation will probably be similar this year. It will only be in the fall semester, however, as we won’t go over there after the New Year once the mountain road will be closed, and seafaring conditions have worsened”, she went further. A ferry goes between Mjóifjörður and Norðfjörður twice a week, every week.

Erna says that even though the studies are going well, it is the social aspect that has proven difficult, “That’s what we are lacking. School authorities and us parents decided to make the setup work when it became clear that Jóhanna Björg didn’t want to leave home for school. Jóhanna wouldn’t have to leave her legal residence to attend elementary school.” Jóhanna is a decent student according to her mother, “Jóhanna Björg is a good student, fundamentally, so it hasn’t been too difficult for her. We are lucky in that regard.

Mjóifjörður is in East Iceland, between Norðfjörður and Seyðisfjöður, and only has a population of 14 people. It is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful fjords in Iceland, offering beautiful views of waterfalls and the fjord as well as the famed Dalatangi lighthouse. What was believed to be the largest whaling station in the world was at one point situated in Mjóifjörður, built by Norwegians around the turn of the 19th century.

New US Embassy But No Ambassador

A new home for the US embassy in Iceland is set to be completed in Reykjavík next summer, RÚV reports. There is no word, however, on when the position of ambassador will be filled. The post has been unoccupied for 572 days, since the departure of Robert Barber.

“All work in the embassy is proceeding according to routine under the leadership of the deputy ambassador,” the embassy’s public affairs officer Oscar Avila stated. Avila added that there is no way of knowing when the next ambassador to the country will be appointed.

The projected cost of the new embassy building is ISK 6.7 billion ($62m/€55m). The building design includes bullet-proof glass in all windows and thick security walls around the property.

This is the third time Icelanders have had to wait for an ambassador for a long period. Nine years ago, Robert S. Connan was appointed to take over the position from Carol Van Voorst, but never took on the position. Eventually Luis Arrega was appointed to the post, arriving in Iceland one year and nine months after Voorst left.

Robert Barber’s appointment was a political one on the part of Former President Barack Obama. He therefore was forced to resign from the position when President Donald Trump took power. Upcoming midterm elections in the United States may further complicate the appointment of the country’s next ambassador to Iceland.

The US Embassy is one of 28 in Iceland which currently has no ambassador. Others in the group are Angola, Andorra, Venezuela, Guinea, Kosovo, and Macedonia.

Men’s Team Down 10 Spots in FIFA Rankings

The Icelandic men’s national football team is down 10 spots in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, sitting in 32nd place. RÚV reported first.

The team has enjoyed great success recently, qualifying for their first ever World Cup tournament last fall, and reaching a record 18th place ranking in February 2018. The team currently sits just behind Iran and ahead of Ukraine.

The Icelandic women’s national team held on to their 19th place spot in the latest rankings, on the heels of Switzerland, in 18th place, and ahead of New Zealand, in 20th.

Ring Road Closed at Hellisheiði and Selfoss

Route 1 Iceland

Route One will be closed on Hellisheiði heath in Southwest Iceland due to road maintenance. Cars travelling in the area will be detoured via Þrengslavegur (Route 39). The road is scheduled to reopen at midnight tonight.

Route One is also closed at Selfoss due to maintenance work on the bridge over Ölfusá river. The closure is expected to last throughout the week. Vehicles will be detoured via Routes 34 and 39.

Travellers are advised to consult for further information regarding roads and weather.