Maldives Rowing Volunteer
The first full week is over and what a week. After four days of getting up at 5am to be at the ‘boat house’ for 6 I needless to say made the most of the fact coaching only started at 2pm on Sunday by sleeping til 1230! It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d gone to sleep at a proper time the previous four days but a prize giving at one of the schools (finished at midnight), an evening with friends and Pingu, the stray kitten I have adopted, all combined to ensure I had only 4 hours sleep each night! For those that know me this is the worst form of toture you can inflict! I’m amazed I’m still alive.....

So yes I made it two months before finding a wailing stray kitten to adopt and wreak havoc around my room. She/he was on the side of the road wailing when I went to supper one night and 45 mins later was still there and being ignored. So I picked it up knocked on a few doors to ask if it was anyone’s (got given the look bestowed world wide on a ’crazy white lady clutching a cat’) and got on my bike and pedalled home clutching the squawking thing.

Obviously, the main problem was feeding – no cat food in tins or kitten formula here. So powdered milk administered by a syringe borrowed from Jeeja, she luckily had one from the time Kichu (her son) was ill, became the answer. I was hoping to find a foster mum cat for the kitten, not trusting my nursing skills of unweaned cat but that is not possible so Pingu is here to stay. Other than being very ugly – scrawny, not well endowed with fur, black with a kinked tail, legs that are too long and the kitten tummy that becomes circular when full and causes even more coordination and balance issues! She/he is very cute. Sleeps on a pair of trousers I destroyed with bleach. Wakes and yowls for food then sleeps again. Though now it is beginning to become interested in playing and climbing. However, the descent is never graceful involving face plants or full on landing with a thunk on its head. Quite good as it then is quiet. It has mastered the art of using a litter tray but not the ability to leave the tray with out treading in everything it has produced. Because it’s paws then get wet it gets all upset and starts to shake them but can’t stay in one position while shaking a paw so gets more paws coated and soon cat, litter and the rest is scattering about the room with me cursing and mopping up after it! Oh and I’ve trodden on it a couple of times!

Anyway back to the reason I’m here and the rowing. All is going well the students are improving - we are able to let go of the boats and race around in the coaching launch drilling the arts of going in a straight line and listening and more importantly obeying instructions into our very keen pupils. Saturday was the day of ‘leave Tash in the sea and row away and don’t come back’ – three crews left me bobbing miles out after their ‘15 strokes and stop’ turned into a row back to shore!

We’re also running land based training for the students so such favourites as squat jumps, push ups, sit ups, the plank, and squat against a wall are ensuring we have a regular string of complaints of very sore muscles! The assistant coaches are discovering the joy of making people do lots of hard exercises while standing and encouraging further effort!! We go to Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo next week for a two week intensive coaching course before returning for a week to prepare for the interschool competition on 4th November. Aaaaghhhh!

Just so you have an idea of the numbers we deal with each week. We have 128 boys and 65 girls from the 9 schools all of whom come twice a week to training. This with only 4 doubles and yet it all seems to be working as long as it’s not windy...... Controlling the boats in the wind is very difficult when small and unfit so we’re praying for a calm November 4th! Interest is not restricted to the students parents, teachers, doctors, council members and most of the bystanders who come to watch are all desperate to have a go and are waiting patiently for their turn.

Hope you like the photos of the DAWN start with Feydhoo school on Saturday morning.

X Tash


Auntie Mary
10/18/2011 22:31

Tash, loving your blog!

No hope for you with regard to needy animals. Overwhelming desire to adopt them is deep in your genes! Lots of love from the Swannington Swedes xxx


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