Friday, 13 February 2015

Barbecues, Snorkelling and Library Renovations in the Maldives

COUNTRY: Maldives
PROJECT: Nursing, Teaching & Swimming Coaching
WRITTEN BY: Katina Sarantidis

Another week has passed and the reality that we are well and truly venturing to the near end of this trip has started to sink in. We continue to be in awe of the breathtaking location that has become our home over the last three weeks, and as friendships develop stronger, the harder it is to contemplate parting as a group and returning to our lives in Australia.

This week has been full of both surprises and adventure. It began with a picturesque sunset beach barbecue. We were escorted to a candlelit table where we were waited on like royalty and served the finest of foods on the island. Chicken, beef, seafood skewers, chargrilled vegetables, fresh salads and dessert – this was no ordinary sausage sizzle! Everyone was overwhelmed by the generous hospitality of the chef and serving staff and we truly could not express our gratitude for such a perfect evening. There was something quite tranquil about eating dinner under the stars, with sand beneath our toes and the faint sound of waves crashing against the nearby rocks.

Snorkelling and fishing continue to be two of the most favoured leisurely activities amongst us all, with groups going out on the boat almost daily. As spotting sea turtles when snorkelling becomes more common, it is nonetheless just as exciting as the very first time. It is near impossible to describe the clarity and turquoise blue colour of the water – it is truly remarkable. Each time we are convinced it appears bluer than the last.

Later in the week we were fortunate enough to be invited to a traditional Maldivian wedding. The bride was the daughter of a midwife the nursing students had been working alongside in the hospital. We took this opportunity to all dress up and immerse ourselves in the Maldivian culture – a unique and wonderful experience.

One of the main highlights of the week was the renovation of the local school library. The teaching students had met with the principal of the school to discuss the possibility of painting and refurnishing the primary section of the library. The plans were approved, the paint was purchased and it was all hands on deck for one full afternoon where we spent transforming the once dull, colourless library, into a bright, vibrant and inviting children’s reading corner. This project not only brought us closer together as a group, as we bonded over hours of painting and singing along to music, but also gave us a real sense of satisfaction and a reminder as to why we are all here. Seeing the smiles and lit up faces of students and staff made the hard work all worth the while. It is true what they say:

“Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give.” Ben Carson

Until next time.

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