Maldives Rowing Volunteer
Litter Pickers!!
Well the rainy season is well and truly here, thankfully the type of rain that gets you embarrassingly wet (ie see through clothes) has been mainly limited to night times, one thing I have noticed is that any type of rain coat is not used by anyone - not even the lightweight cagouls of my childhood, people just stay under shelter until it stops.  I suppose as time is a different concept here you can just wait until the rain stops to do whatever it is you were going to do, I am fairly confident there is no Divehi word for late!  Although the rain does ruin the idyllic look of bright blue skies and seas it actually makes the climate more user friendly for me.  The cloud cover allows you to explore, either on land or sea, without the feeling of you skin burning and peeling as you look at it and all those terrible skin cancer warnings flashing before my eyes.  On the subject of skin cancer - if anyone can recommend a sun block that does not run straight into your eyes and sting like a ninja as soon as you go in the sea and that is available in the Maldives I would be eternally grateful!
Currently everything is running relatively smoothly, bar securing my work permit but I have had all my fears about being deported soothed by a kindly South African teacher, and so until I find out whether I will be going south to Gahdoo in the near future, plans to expand the swimming programme are on hold.  There is still a great deal of interest and some of the children are progressing really well despite my teaching!

One of the biggest features of the Maldives in general (or what I have seen so far) and Hulhumale in particular is RUBBISH, it is everywhere, in the sea, all over the beaches, by the sides of the roads, filling every empty lot.  It gets a little depressing watching rubbish thrown into the sea and on the ground.  It is something every tourist I have spoken to has commented on and I am not sure that people realise how much it affects people coming to the island and the length of time (and more importantly the amount of money) they spend on the island.  The smell where we conduct lessons is terrible although how much of that can be blamed on the rubbish and how much on the outlet pipe nearby I do not know.  So rather than just rant on a website, we arranged a litter pick for all the students who swim.  Attendance was a little poor but many of the children did have school (school takes over a lot more of their time here in comparison to the UK, with extra lessons and events), however those that attended and their parents were fantastic and in an hour we collected a huge amount of rubbish (see photos).  The overall effect was marginal but with more collections and hopefully a tiny change in attitude we might get somewhere.  Perhaps giving out individually wrapped sweets as a reward at the end was a foolish thing to do, as most of the wrappers ended up in the sea (I did fish them out) but overall a success and we have new rules in class that any litter being dropped by anyone (instructors in particular) incurs a big telling off by everyone!

Divehi vocab - increasing (not with useful words though!)
Ability with non english names - still zero
Cuts to feet - 8
Current mossie bites - 7

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