Team 1- Lili, Saskia, Dylon and Sophie
After completing our training week with Love the Oceans, we had our first week of collecting fisheries data at the two local fisheries, Guinjata and Paindane. Divided into teams of two we took turns in walking the 3km along the beach to Paindane, while the other team got to stay at Guinjata. Much to our amusement, Sophie and Saskia left their sunblock at home on the first day and returned looking like lobsters! While it seemed to be a rather quiet week in terms of catch for the fishermen, we witnessed them catching a dragon stingray, huge honeycomb moray, guitar shark, hammerhead shark and several dorados. On a particularly quiet day, Dylon and Lili abandoned their data collection duties to go on the boat to chase and swim with a large 10m whaleshark – amazing experience, and to be honest, anyone would have done the same on that day 😉 We also made it a part of our daily agenda to collect garbage that has been washed up on shore – it is so shocking to see the masses of litter covering the beautiful beaches here. We cannot wait for the week ahead to work with the two schools and all the kids!
Team 2– Payton,Gill and Laura
Gill, Laura, and I were a bit hesitant about our first week at both Paindane and Guinjata primary schools. First days are always hard so Monday was our test run. The kids greeted us with curious eyes and lots of smiles and they seemed to enjoy having fresh faces around. It’s a bit challenging teaching fifty 7-14 year olds about coral reefs and the challenges they face (global warming, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, etc.) and it’s even harder doing it with a Portuguese translator. However, our translator, Pascal, is a phenomenal teacher who is exceptionally bright and funny. He caught on to our lessons quickly and often went off on his own after the first class. The students enjoyed some (not all – they are school kids after all) of the lessons and definitely enjoyed our prizes (Gill knitted about 40 adorable sea creatures!). After teaching we started the painting of 3 newly built classrooms. Most of the painting consisted of white washing but we also started a great solar system mural which the next group will take over. It was a little rough, seeing how we used broom handles attached to rollers to reach the tops of the high walls, but the children were extremely helpful with post-paint cleaning! We went into it unsure and nervous but I think we all had a fun and rewarding experience this week.
Our first working week of this last program has been wonderful! Lots was accomplished and the whale sharks paid us a visit so spirits were high and everyones keen to get in the water and dive this weekend. Bring on the rest of the program with this small but hard working bunch, it’s going to be fantastic!!