When first arriving to Moalboal the Green Fins work seemed a bit slow with only one or two assessments in the first and second week. The first assessment and training completed was during the crazy days of intense rain and very poor visibility. The second assessment was with the sun happily shining and the visibility slightly better. It was great to see how both of the dive centers care for the environment and how their marine conservational/biological knowledge is expanding over the years with help of all the previous and present Green Fins Ambassadors.
Last week we have been assessing in double time. I guess some dive centers need to get used to Green Fins being around again before they want to set up a training or assessment. As I like to be busy and having multiple things on my mind I really enjoyed last week– it keeps me sharp and eager to do and learn more. Until now it has been a great experience working with all the different dive centers and nationalities. The language barriers can be a bit tough sometimes, but when speaking slow and putting in some charades moves a good conversation usually comes to life.
Next to the GF work we are also working on our personal projects. All three of us have different areas to focus on. My focus is on the elementary school in Moalboal where Environmental Awareness content has been implemented by previous Zoox volunteers and to document the successes of the implementation for future development. A great output of the previous projects is the development of the Association of Brilliant Educators for Better Future Generations (ABeBFG) and the knowledge they have gained through participating in seminars and meetings. The Association counts 40 members in total and is still growing. Not only do they educate children on the environment, but also conduct community outreach programs.
We were invited to come along with ABeBFG on a community outreach program to feed the children of Busay at Omay Elementary School, which was a lot of fun and a great way to start building the relationships with some teachers. The day started super early at 5.30 AM, but it was nice to see the gentle rays peak over the top of the mountains and feel the morning ocean breeze on our skin. All of this goodness was soon replaced with a very full open-air minivan ride up into the mountains to the village of Busay. This was followed by a very sweaty hiking trip of an hour to arrive at the place of destination – just imagine that some students have to hike up every day, unbelievable!!! Experiencing what the ABeBFG has achieved in the last year astounded me. Not only do they create environmental awareness in the community they also help to improve and inspire their municipality.
Honestly, before joining the community outreach program I felt a bit out of depth concerning my project. But by building the relationships with the teachers I feel that approaching them for further questions will be much easier and will make the conversations flow smoother. And it has definitely proven to be worth wile as my project is currently in full swing!