Thursday, 29 January 2015

A day in the life of a Maldivian volunteer

COUNTRY: Maldives
PROJECT: Teaching and swimming coaching
WRITTEN BY: Vivienne Zhu

Our trip to Maldives was hindered with one delay, but that didn’t stop the excitement for the month ahead on the beautiful island of Thinadhoo. We were greeted by the Maldives’ immense heat, beautiful waters and a quick speedboat journey across the sea from Kaadedhdhoo to Thinadhoo. Half our group arrived on the earlier flight and enjoyed a motorbike ride to a sandbar for a quick swim and a delicious dinner of fried rice, tuna and vegetable curry at Delizio. The rest of us arrived at 11pm and enjoyed a magical boat ride under the stars.

After several days here, we are getting used to the heat and the Maldivian routine. Waking up extra early isn't always easy for us uni students, but with the eager kids ready to learn we're always excited to see their smiling faces. A breakfast of cereal and nutella toast reminds us of home before our big day ahead. Our early morning walks to school are pleasant, with the sea breezes through the laneways soothing our faces.

We arrive to school by 8am, tick off our attendance and head to our respective classes. Imogen, Maddie and myself teach Grade 2, whilst Janelle and Sarah teach Grade 3 and Dani teaches Science and Maths to Grades 6 and 7. There are a range of classes including English, Maths, Science, Social Studies, PE, Creative Arts, Dhivehi, Quran and Islam. Upon arriving, we are greeted by the children’s smiles and help our teachers with their class, whether that be writing on the whiteboard, answering persistent calls of ‘Miss!’, singing songs or playing games with them.

School ends around 12:30pm, and we return to Delizio’s for lunch. We are welcomed with passionfruit juice- a wonderful refreshment after a tiring morning- and wait for our lunch patiently. So far, our best lunch has been roti with dahl, spicy fish and tuna salad. It is an absolute treat to enjoy the local food!

After lunch, the UV soars and we retreat back to our guesthouse where we relax for the afternoon. We will often watch a movie, plan for swimming lessons, or play intense card games to fill the time before teaching swimming.

Around 4pm, the kids gather at the sandbar for swimming lessons. Currently, we are teaching the Grade 2’s who are learning the basics of kicking, blowing bubbles and floating in the water. Already, we are able to see the strong capabilities of some students, which is promising and rewarding.

Swimming ends at 6pm, and we are able to head back, shower and get ready for dinner. Again dinner is at Delizio’s, and we are greeted with orange juice and a hot meal to refuel our bodies after a long day. Typically, we’re able to get through dinner within half an hour (that’s how hungry we are!).

After dinner, we’ll head back to the guesthouse and relax for a bit before heading to bed at around 9pm. This is just a typical day in our lives, and we’ve found that weekdays are Sunday to Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday, and we can’t wait to see what the weekend has in store for us!

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