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Monday, 16 July 2012

Aussies dance amongst the beautiful Maldives



COUNTRY: Maldives
PROGRAM: UniBreak
PROJECT: Teaching & Sports Coaching
WRITTEN BY: Amanda Maitland

Here is the third blog, we have just finished today at the Prize giving ceremony where we got to dress in traditional Maldivian clothes. Was a lot of fun and were all getting a little heavy hearted about having to say goodbye to one of the most amazing adventures of our lives! Luisa is all fine now and has the whole island looking out for her!

AUSTRALIANS CAN DANCE!
This week marks the halfway point of our adventure. Things we love so far, the persistence in the children to get to know us and our culture, breakthrough teaching moments that remind us of why we are studying teaching, finding familiar western foods on our dinner and lunch plates, Maldivian sunsets, Assad's music, pool and badminton sessions, randomly breaking out into our favourite Aussie songs, evening playground adventures, sleepovers in the lounge room, walking adventures 'everyday', Toblerone feasts, Cheeky's strange habits, laughing from exhaustion and also, Iced Milo's.

After the victorious win of the school team in the football match, we took the island hero's (Elephant & Stallion) away from their new adoring fans to practice for our much anticipated Aussie mash up in the GA Atoll school performance night. After 10 mins of practice it was time to get ready to wow the crowd. The mash up consisted of some Phil Collins, Build me up Buttercup, Burn Baby Burn, We Will Rock You, Kung Fu Fighting, YMCA, The Nutbush, Warp 1.8 and some truly extreme shuffling.

After our mind blowing performance, (thanking our culture for teaching us national dance moves such as the Nutbush) our celebrity status grew another couple of notches with kids either being to scared to offend us with their real opinions or we all were genuinely good dancers in a previous life!

After cooling our newly inspired ego's with a nice sleep in, we went for a picnic on another uninhabited island with the female lead teacher and her family. Two boat trips and one fish later, we arrived on our island. After the claiming of 'James Island' last trip by writing names in the sand, Zak thought it fitting to properly claim this island by mounting an Aussie flag on a makeshift pole in the sand.

Each island we have visited has surpassed our expectations, outdoing the previous island in scenery, coral reefs and adventure paths. It was another hot day in the Maldives and we were only too happy to explore the flawless, unscathed reefs that we discovered below the waters surface. This was by far the best snorkeling destination of the trip (so far) possibly, due to it's immaculate condition from the island being uninhabited.

When we arrived we scaled the perimeter of the island finding a comfy spot to set up camp. Along the way we discovered a coconut tree matching our climbing capabilities! After snorkeling and eating our picnic lunch of tuna spaghetti the boys conquered the coconut tree. Sitting down to relax after some exhaustive climbing the first boat load went back to Kolamaafushi. Whilst waiting we casually found a James mermaid in the sand.

Driving away from the island, another perfect Kodak moment appeared as the sun began to set above 'Australia Island' marking the end of another inspiring day in the Maldives. The return trip was steady and relaxing. We were all feeling a little dazed from the heat of our freshly sun kissed skin and so marked one of the first boat trips where all 8 of the group were consumed in their own thoughts listening to music on the somber trip home. When we arrived home we caught the first early night of the trip, in preparation for our swimming lessons starting the next day.

After much anticipation, swimming season was finally here for the students of GA Atoll school! We were unable to start the lessons at the beginning of the placement due to the inter-house school sports tournaments. By now we had many recruitment's including grade 1 students who would frequently ask, "Miss, swimming?".

On our first day of lessons, the senior students were the lucky candidates selected to test our water knowledge. At 3:45pm the Koalas, Crocodiles, Emu's, Echidna's, Kangaroo's, Platypus', Blue Tongue Lizards and Wombat's floated on in for the first of many fun and rewarding lessons. Four games of 'what's the time Mr wolf?', detailed floating and kick practice later our first day of swimming lessons were finished. Exhausted, yet excited that we had just completed the first set of lessons without any hiccups we made the 10 minute walk back to the house to shower and get ready for dinner.

The second day of lessons proved to be more of a challenge with the juniors taking to the water. The weather was much rougher than normal so the conditions of the sea were not ideal for teaching small children how to swim. Nevertheless we battled through, testing out as many ways to explain swimming terms to children who do not yet understand English. For the first time for many of us the language barrier between the two nationalities became evident.

We continued our now regular routine of eat, school, eat, rest, swimming, eat, activities and finally sleep for the rest of the week. We marked the end of our second week and also halfway mark with a trip to the most spectacular, breathtaking resort we have ever laid eyes and hands on, Robinson's Club Maldives. Here we took time to relax by the pool bar, dance into the night at the black and white party, eat as much familiar food as possible and mostly to relax by shedding some layers.

Returning to the land of the living after feeling very much alive from our return boat trip to Kolamaafushi we finished the weekend with a night in watching movies and reminiscing on the adventures so far.

End of second week stats:

Total photo count: 5000+
Iced milo count: 52
Showers per day: 4-5
500ml water bottles consumed (drinking only): 852
Doctors visits: 3
Trees climbed: 3

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