Maldives Rowing Volunteer
Sorry it has been a while since I have updated the blog and photos from this end - I managed to lock myself out of the website, I am not blaming Tash but I think it is 99% her fault.  Since I last moaned about food, quite a bit has happened.  I found a dirty, scrawny flea ridden tiny kitten on the beach, who I took home and kept in a box in bathroom and then under the house and fed him top quality tuna and gone off milk (no fridge) and he was getting bigger and fatter and less dirty and flea ridden when sadly he disappeared. Having had his freedom for a few days and not leaving the space under the house, one evening he disappeared during dinner.  I had even christened him Kipper as he smelt mostly of gone off fish!  I fear the worst for Kipper although there is not much that could eat him on the island, only a bigger cat could see him off or a person but I have have not heard his formerly intensely irritating cries for the past few days so I think I will probably not see him again.  It is for the best as I was starting to think about how I would fly him to the UK when I left, so for my bank balance and my sanity it is safer that our friendship was oh so brief!!!

Recently it seems to have been International Everything day, first it was International Children's Day, which seem to involve the children either not turning up for swimming or being cheekier than ever.  On the Friday following the day there was a festival on the island complete with a real life mermaid in a pool on a cold day, looking even sorrier for herself when a couple of irate ducks were introduced to the pool - see photos here.  I also enjoyed the celebrations for International Nurse's Day in Male at a Nurses' Sports Day, which is really entertaining and great to see such a huge level of participation, every nurse not working from the largest hospital was there, and giving it some welly in events from lemon and spoon races to tug of war.  I have to thank Liz, the director of nursing for Male Health Services for inviting me along and then for taking me out to dinner where I had a huge bowl of pasta and ice cream, not together, which quietened down a lot of my food fantasies! The final ceremony was our own Certificate Award Ceremony for the children who have completed the first 5 weeks of swimming lessons and have reached either there Starfish, Angelfish or Manta Ray level.  With 40% of the children now able to competently swim 25m in the sea the lessons have been a great success.  Teaching in the ever changing conditions of the sea is a big challenge particularly for the younger and smaller children who have a tendency to be thrown around by the waves at high tide - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger (mostly) though!  

The swimming programme has now changed in that I am the only teacher - the lovely assistants have all completed their swimming teaching courses and are heading back to their islands - luckily one of my favourites lives on Hulhumale so I will be bullying him into helping me soon.  The children now only have lessons once a week so the classes are manageable for one instructor (most of the time) and with the new swimming track (floating swimming pools) as an incentive things are going really well.

On the rowing front, the boats are scheduled to be here at the end of next month so plans are moving forwards here to get the location all set up and ready for their arrival - we have the land kindly donated to us and now are just awaiting confirmation before we can start to make some structural changes and begin to build the boat house - exciting times indeed!

Right so a very factual blog - mainly due to the lack of access to the website for the past couple of weeks, I am sure I will be back to my rambling self again soon!  The rainy season is properly here after a short break and I am stuck in the hotel whilst the rain empties from the sky in buckets, much as it did throughout lessons yesterday!

Have a look at the photos and despite the cloudiness of the photos I can assure the sun shines a lot here, as proved by my awkward tan marks!!


PS A huge thank you and well done to everyone who is fundraising at home, it is really appreciated by everyone here and I hopefully am making a bit of an improvement to children's' 

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