Maldives Rowing Volunteer
 
First major news – the boats arrived!! All in one piece and sparkling white. They are now safely housed in the ‘old power house’ luckily a very short walk across the road and into the sea. Currently we are carrying them everywhere as we wait for the trollies so building up huge forearms – much, I’m sure,  to the secret delight of the guys helping me.

The Hithadhoo Youth Centre has come up trumps and found me around 10 guys to train in the art of rowing within 8 sessions to help me coach the school children as of the 15th of September. Thankfully coastal boats are the most stable things in the world after fine sculls so progress is rapid. They are all dive or water sports instructors or various relatives of the afore mentioned spending time off the resorts back in Addu. They tell me they want something to do in their days and that’s why they have agreed to volunteer to help me out. This ‘burning desire’ wavered somewhat in most faces yesterday when I announced this morning’s session was starting at 6. However, 6 this morning dawned and we had most of the group, a little bleary eyed and struggling (as I would be) to operate in English so early in the morning (must get on with some Divehi). However, we were soon all wide awake and doing some very unorthodox races up and down the main channel involving planned 360 degree spins at appointed spots! Palm trees make great landmarks.

Yesterday we made it out into the deep blue lagoon floating over this huge mushroom of coral (don’t worry Guin well below the keel of the boats) under which, I was assured by all, lives a massive moray eel. Sadly I didn’t see it. At this point it was decided the seating arrangement needed adjusting as one boat was making as much progress as a one legged spider. Before I could say anything the two that were swapping had leapt overboard! With much blade waggling and ‘helpful’ advice from us onlookers everyone was soon back in the boats and away we went again!

The schools start next week so I have a week of presentations and introductory days. So far enthusiasm is very high which is great to see and I swing between waves of excitement and sheer terror at what is about to unleash! The SAARC Summit is being held in Addu in November and I have been asked to run a schools rowing regatta for this event on the 4th.... Every school gets two sessions a week and as you can imagine time is of the essence. I’m sure it will all be fine....... aaaahhhh!

Along with the boats came my bike – see photo. You have no idea what a difference this has made I now no longer have to walk for half an hour to get to the boats but can cycle in 5/10 mins. The whole north section of the island is now open to me for exploring. Total bliss. Well, only after I’d replaced the chain that snapped on me and the tyre that blew up!

It was my bday yesterday – I of course went snorkelling with Family Babu and amongst all the fish we also saw a turtle which was great! Cebe designed an amazing card and thank you to both Family Babu and Jeeja and Hari for my very kind presents. As you can see from the shell in the photo my alter ego has followed me out here!  Luckily the

I’m practising keeping these missives short so here’s to seizing the moment....

X Tash

 





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