I have just completed my first month as the new Volunteer Coordinator here at Atoll Volunteers – And it has already been quite an experience!
I took an alternate transport from Male to Naifaru, travelling by fishing boat in the night, sleeping on its rooftop under the stars! When arriving in Naifaru I was warmly greeted by the current VC, Colette, who started briefing me on everything that would be relevant to me as the new VC – from the administrative side of Atoll Volunteers to insights on the local people and culture.
At first, the tasks and responsibilities I had to take over from Colette felt chaotic and many and I was naturally a bit confused about it all for the first couple of weeks of my stay. But one month in I feel more confident about it all, and enjoy taking on the different challenges that comes with this position, be it with the volunteers or working on progress reports and grant applications for the UNDP.
Three days into my stay I received my first group of volunteers, luckily they proved to be an easy, enthusiastic and humorous bunch, and I have appreciated having them here! Friendships were quickly formed between me and my volunteers – but also to many of the locals!
I was told before my arrival that I should expect the locals to be both friendly and hospitable, yet I am still surprised by exactly how friendly and hospitable they are! I’ve already enjoyed a lot of meals, a couple of BBQ’s and good talks with many of the locals. I am positive about what the coming months will bring of experiences in this little community!
The activities I have already done has been awesome to say the least: snorkeling at different sites, night fishing, tuna fishing, island excursions, cheered at the local football cup, help running the turtle rehabilitation center, beach cleanings and so much more – there seems to be no lack of spare time activities down here! And thankfully Kanma, Thuday and Choco are always willing to help arrange activities for me and the volunteers.
Currently I only have one volunteer as my first big group ended their programs a few weeks ago – but I am soon to receive a new group, and I can’t wait to introduce them to their individual programs and help organize their stay!