22/05/13 'Children's Week'

By 5 years ago
Categories Mahe and Curieuse

Last week was what I will conveniently dub “children’s week” for no other reason than me partaking in both an International School Seychelles (ISS) teaching morning and Presidents Village (PV) snorkel. Each of these activities presents a variety of physical and mental challenges.

The PV snorkel was a ridiculously fun experience. For those that do not know the Presidents Village is a care facility for children who for one reason or another cannot stay at home. We take one afternoon with the kids to generally play and snorkel with them on the beach. Often different groups will be brought from the village and last week we had the pleasure of helping look after the elder boys. Having had experience-coaching boys of a similar age I thought I was well prepared for such a task. Evidently I was not.

These boys were strong, so much so that when the eventual shoulder wars were started in the water it was all we could do to stop our necks from snapping. Let me explain, when you give a shoulder ride in a pool for someone back home, have a shoulder wrestling match then maybe fall the person on your shoulders is usually kind enough to release their legs and let you both fall safely. Not the case with these kids, at the slightest waver these kids would tighten their legs around your neck and using your head or shoulders hoist themselves back up. I later realised that this was due to the limited number of men supervising and if they were to get on a strong pair of shoulders (or in my case a slightly stable pair), they had to make damn sure they didn’t fall off for someone to quickly replace them. These kids just wanted to blow off some steam and maybe muck around with someone older who was willing to do so. I hope I am put on many more of these snorkels.

The ISS mornings are a completely different challenge. Basically we present a different topic to do with marine conservation every week hoping to instill a sense of wonder and responsibility for the oceans, this week was turtles. From what I could tell these kids were around 10 or 11 years old and raring to learn.

Expecting to be ready for this with a niece and nephew around this age was a feeling of confidence I quickly had to abandon. These kids were from all over the world, could already speak two or three languages and were more than eager to share their knowledge on any related topic. One student ready to inform me that the sand on the beach was “Parrotfish Poo”, a condensation of island atoll evolution so succinct it was all I could do not to ‘high 5’ that kid.

It was great teaching small groups of kids about the biology of and threats to Hawksbill turtles (by the way the Seychelles is the only place in the world where they nest during the day).  I can only hope the kids gained a little of the interest I have with the ocean.