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.
It was such a rewarding project to be involved in, as at the end of each day, I could see the nests that I had protected, and know that I had done my part towards saving the turtles, and saving the planet. One of the staff members who was supervising us said, “the best feeling on earth is saving a life that can never repay you”. Helping to save those turtles made me see the truth behind these words.
Everything is really well organized and straightforward. There are three shifts. Two at night and one in the morning and obviously, you will never get more than one shift per day. The night shifts involve walking along the beach looking for turtles and waiting for them to nest. If they nest you get to watch them lay eggs and help measure and tag them. It’s honestly an amazing experience because it’s something so different and unique. The morning patrols consist of writing down all the turtle tracks and finding nests to help secure them.
I arrived to Curieuse Island in Seychelles and met my group for the next month- 12 amazing people from the US, UK and Germany. When we arrived I felt like I had found paradise, such a beautiful and special place! Every morning it was a pleasure to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and start the day with our awesome surveys - with the sea turtles or with the lemon sharks, the coco de mer trees or go to run in the mud at the mangroves!
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.
As conservation volunteers, the team I worked on saw early mornings and plenty of data entry in the afternoons. We worked at two separate sea turtle conservation efforts weekly and also taught classes that combined conservation concepts and English vocabulary to the local primary school classes every week. Two of the most fulfilling, enriching things I’ve ever done in my life...
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