Maldives Rowing Volunteer
Well I’m back in Addu arrived on Friday night. It has been lovely to see everyone again and catch up with all their news about new jobs, new bicycles and housing renovations! Other than expressing how nice it is to see me again the main comment is ‘ah you are so WHITE! How is that possible, you were only away for a month....? That would be the English winter for you.

I’m staying with the family I was living with before I left and was greeted by squeals, screams and jumps at the door by 3 year old Mikael! I was given the tour of the house to see all the changes that have been made to convert part of it into a new restaurant. Looks great. The Education Unit had made a go beautiful little ‘welcome back’ card which was on my old desk and as it was Mary’s birthday, my first day back started with a slice of chocolate cake – yummy!

So yes it’s all about the rowing again. However, something new has cropped up since I went away. FISA (International Rowing Federation) has invited the Maldives to attend the training camp taking place before the Asian 2012 pre Olympic Qualification Regatta in Chungju, South Korea. So I am meeting with the principals of the schools involved to discuss this on Tuesday and hopefully run selections to determine who the two rowers will be. We can take one girl and one boy along with a coach. What an opportunity and experience for everyone!

Then it’s back to the original plan of holding an interschool competition in July.... I’ve gathered from a couple of people I bumped into yesterday that the rowers have been keeping themselves busy in the last month or so getting involved in other sporting activities from athletics competitions to swimming and doing very well. Going down to unearth my chariot of a bike from storage in a minute - somehow I think a service/oil and air is going to be required. Then tomorrow is the jolly task of reassembling the boats – always so much slower than taking them apart – to get everything back in order and ready for business!

X Tash
Again I write a blog and fail to post it for about 3 weeks.... Sorry!

The year started well. Again large numbers of students returned  to rowing and others came for the  first time and lots of desire for swimming lessons please. Sadly, I learnt the lesson I can’t do everything at the same time so swimming lessons were postponed to April and coaching effort put into the rowing until the first regatta in March. Addu High School were nominated to organise the two regattas one in March and the other in July – we’d even got round to forming a committee! Oh and I’d fitted in diving lessons and got my qualification (3rd time lucky...). Diving is a truly fabulous feeling -  I think my ancestor got in the wrong queue when they were offering evolving as life on land or in the sea! Saw manta rays and sharks on my first dive off the house reef. Naturally the memory card was full so had to work out how to operate all the buttons and knobs on the camera housing to delete photos while having a minor over excitement fit - so only have a couple of photos! 

Now, I’m not blaming what happened next totally on Baz and Tony (friends from the UK) but I will definitely think carefully the next time they offer to come out and visit! They arrived the day before President Nasheed resigned. We spent the next ten days watching events unfold before it was decided that the project close down while things settled. So I flew out with Baz and Tony and am now back in the UK freezing cold, missing my friends and all the students enormously and putting together a proposal for the future of the project while keeping my fingers crossed that the future will be sooner rather than later.  

So hoping, hoping and hoping that it won’t be too long before I can return and continue where we left off. 

X Tash