The Changeover: Saying goodbye in style
This blog is about change. How we may deal with change and how we move on. The change that I’m talking about is the changeover. For any volunteers who stay longer than a month there comes a sad time when all the people you have gotten to know over the past weeks say goodbye and leave. This, however, is not a sad blog about how down everyone is at the end of the month. Oh no! This blog is about all the memories shared over the weeks and weekends, and the crazy shenanigans that normally take place on the last weekend and all the fond memories that have preceded it.
It seems a relatively short time to get to know people as well as you do, but when you consider you’re spending every minute of every day with each other on a small base it’s understandable that you would become friends, or at least part of a strange social study.
Over the month in question we had a very full base with nineteen volunteers. With so many people it is understandable that groups would form. Even so it ended up with everybody getting to know each other, even if we weren’t always together.
The month went by with busy dive days and long evenings with many a long conversation about many strange things, that in the end brought us all closer together. We spent our weekends exploring the local area. Be it hiking to the waterfall for the day or relaxing at the local resort and pretending we actually had money for a change.
The particular set of last-weekend shenanigans I shall be talking of took place only a few days ago (or a significant amount of time ago, depending on when you read this). This is the story of a bunch of volunteers and their trip to Eden Island.
Eden Island is the only man-made island in the Seychelles. Think Dubai’s Palm Islands then dial it back several hundred notches. It is an island of apartments and villas, many bays and luckily, the best boardwalk on Mahe.
On this particular weekend most of the leavers (about six in total) had booked an apartment to stay in. I myself joined them on the second day. I arrived at around ten in the morning and went to wait for someone to pick me up (everybody else was still sleeping off all the excitement from the night before).
Many things stood out from this weekend. Chief among them were the food, the swimming and Boardwalk with all its frivolities. We decided to have a BBQ in the evening, necessitating a trip to the shops. We grabbed the golf buggy (we were actually trusted with one of those!) and headed to the shops. It was still fairly early so we dropped our food at the apartment.
Next came the swimming. Some of us went to relax at the beach while others (including myself) began an epic golf buggy adventure around the island in which some people’s driving skills were thrown into serious question. We ended up being unexpected guests at lots of villas and after many a wrong turn, we finally found ourselves by a pool.
Now you have to understand that after so long in the sea, you do enjoy the change to chlorine. Naturally we decided to try a bit of synchronised swimming (as you do). This actually took us a rather long time as we became determined to from a pyramid of sorts using our legs. After many failed attempts and limited success we headed back to the apartment. Time to start the BBQ. This is where the evening really kicked off. We treated ourselves to hotdogs, ribs and chicken skewers. We do get treated to BBQs once a week on base but there is something immensely satisfying about cooking your own food on a real gas BBQ. It brings that sense of accomplishment. We settled down for what we considered to be fine dining with many an antiquated tale of the past month and many stories about what all the leavers would be doing as soon as they arrived home (mostly involving hot showers and good food).
Once the night was in full sway we decided to head off to the local bar to relax with music and dancing (not exactly relaxing). Overall it was an eventful last weekend, both memorable and immensely fun. It goes to show that people you’ve met at GVI and only known for a month can become friends that you will want to keep for other strange and exotic travels.
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