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We were lucky and had a multitude of striped dolphin pod sightings, bottlenose sightings, and we had four sperm whale sightings. We even documented a new sperm whale, who swam very close to the boat and we were able to get amazing footage of him! When there are sightings you videotape on the stern with the gopro camera, take pictures using high resolution cameras, and would have the acoustic equipment on to record/locate the communication of the dolphins or whales.
This summer I spent six weeks volunteering in Fiji teaching the students of Dawasamu Primary School. My responsibilities included improving literacy and numeracy comprehension as well as providing lessons in P.E., music, and art. I’ve never had any experience teaching, but my time spent in Dawasamu Primary School made me open my eyes to the importance of education-- and how taken for granted it is back in my own country.
The first day of the plain count I remember looking over the list of the 30 or so wild animals. I thought, “Yea right, like we are really going to see all these? I doubt it!” Then I thought, “How am I supposed to count something I have never heard of before in my entire life?” Each creature was pointed out and explained in vivid detail to us. I had seen more beautiful creatures on that day than I had ever seen in any zoo anywhere. And I have been to quite a lot of zoos in my life. I was shocked, excited and ready for more.
A truly memorable experience was refereeing two days of soccer. The monks truly love the sport and had a 2 day schoolhouse tournament, which I was requested to referee. The youngest monks were the spectators and cheerleaders, beating plastic bottles and plastic drums, cheering their houses on.They played on a small pitch dug out of the side of (literally) a mountain, the ground was dirt and the goals made out of metal poles. In two hours of soccer, I think I only had to give a single foul, which to me exemplifies the spirit of comradeship and gregarious nature of these incredible people.
In addition to the teaching, I got to work at an orphanage in Kathmandu. I cannot explain the affect of those astoundingly beautiful children. Just to hold a child in need of a hug. To feel a hand slip so readily into yours simply to feel love and affection freely given. To feel special to someone. It bursts your heart. Their delight in each other and what little they have is truly inspiring and I will never forget them.
Volunteering in one of the local daycare centers was quite the experience as I was able to see firsthand how important it is to learn English at such an early age, especially in a poverty stricken country, such as the Philippines. I didn’t spend my time simply teaching English, however, I also taught simple things such as shapes, colors, songs, using manners, and how to show respect.
The intense learning process began the very first day we arrived, teaching us physiology, behavior and survey methodology of different sea organisms, as well as different aspects of the ocean. At the same time, what we learned we practiced in the ocean through surveys, collecting valuable data for the Seychelles National Park Association (SNPA) to monitor the coral reefs in the country.
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