Maldives Rowing Volunteer
 
So shortly after I posted my last blog (although I had written it previously) and before Tash beat me to it and posted the news about the boats, a lot of things changed here.  For those of you who I bored before I left, you may recollect that originally I was going to an island called Gahdhoo in the south of the country.  The lovely Elise Cope stayed in Gahdhoo last November for three weeks to establish a community rowing club and it was planned that I would continue the coaching to set up a sustainable club on the island.  However due to difficulties in getting the funding required to support me there I was coming to Hulhumale to lay the groundwork for the arrival of rowing boats on an island close to Male (the capital)  before heading to Gahdhoo.  Since I have arrived in the Maldives, the funding for Gahdhoo to host a coach for any period of time has not been able to be secured so we decided to focus our energies and efforts on Hulhumale which has a bigger and rapidly growing population therefore has the support and enthusiasm for rowing to be able to commit to a fully functioning community rowing club.  

Now due to the level of interest in rowing in the Male area (which encompasses Hulhumale) I will now be working in a larger area across the capital area alongside the crime prevention unit of the police, using both rowing and swimming to try to reach some of the area’s disaffected young people, as well as those who have a keen interest in sports.  Working in a larger area will mean that the programme for both swimming and rowing will have the opportunity to develop local competitions, the backbone of any sports programme.  So in short I will be moving to Male to live but continue to teach swimming on Hulhumale and work on getting the current patch of bare earth up to scratch as a boathouse for the forthcoming brand new double scull boats which are confirmed to be ON THEIR WAY in the middle of this month.  I just need to highlight again the amazing news that the boats should be here in July, which is doubly exciting as it means that Tash will soon be on her way out here and it will be fantastic to see her.

So aside from mentally preparing myself to move to Male which will be significantly different from quiet Hulhumale, although actually now they have started building on the lot next to my flat it is very noisy here, lots of other things have been happening here.  On a slightly negative note it has been decided that one instructor for the swimming classes is not safe, although the classes are very small, trying to find someone who is a qualified lifeguard to sit on the beach for three hours every day with no pay is not an easy task but we are getting there.  With some alterations to the timings of the programme and a bit of imagination we are getting to a solution! On the positive side of things swimming ability across the board is improving hugely and I have been giving extra classes to those who are suffering from school holiday boredom, children wanting to spend more time being taught is a fantastic reassurance that I am doing something right in lessons and I have to thank The Little Gym Harrogate for some of the more unusual games and songs we have!!

Today, being a Friday (day off for everyone) we had a huge beach cleanup filling 20 sacks of rubbish from the area around which we use.  In stark contrast to the amount of rubbish that I see everywhere on the beach, roads and anywhere, the families that turned up today we so keen to get stuck into the dirty nappies littering around.  It is a combination of a completely different attitude to littering to the UK (although not everyone on the UK) and the lack of government funded street/beach cleaning that gives Hulhumale it’s unfortunate reputation amongst visitors as being so dirty.  Although I am sure that cleaning the beach every now and then will not make a massive difference I hope that possibly a few people might change their attitude to dropping litter if they have picked up so much of it.

Sorry I have just read this blog back and it is a little boring I know but I feel I should have a bit of an update as to what I am doing here rather than just wistful blogs about what I want to eat, although I am fairly confident I could do another of those right now!

PS if anyone has any recommendations or experience in educating people about litter and the impact on the oceans in a non militant way I would love to hear from you. Thank you

Byeeee

Rachel

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