Three weeks since arrival (has it really been that long?!) I am working on an island called Fehendhoo. It is a very small island (pop. 272). I am working with Piko, one of the Maldivians on our team. We have spent most of the last three days that we’ve been there just working on cleaning up the trash pile that has been sitting on their island since Syd and Trudy came here last year and did a trash cleanup with them! The problem was that the big trash boat can’t come directly to their island because there is no channel dredged through the coral and sand for a boat that big. So they need to get the trash to the adjacent island, which is only a 5-10 minute boat ride away. It is peculiar that they didn’t do that for an entire year, but we are making it happen now. We finished bagging everything today and we are going to start transporting it tomorrow.
Today I learned some Dhivehi from the 5 or 6 year old daughter of one of the council members we have been working with. It was such a fun cross-cultural experience because she was just learning the names of the things in English, so we were sort of on the same level of learning. I also tried to teach her, and Piko and the council member some of the Spanish words for things. It was really fun.
I’m learning so much every day here, about this country, the world, myself, working with communities, working with a team, the things it takes to make a project like this work, and so much more. The overwhelming feeling of happiness and gratefulness for being able to be here hasn’t faded at all. Sometimes at the end of the day I am totally exhausted and feel frustrated about certain details from the day, but all of that totally washes away as soon as I sort of zoom out and remember that I am in the middle of the Indian Ocean on the biggest adventure of my life yet. Looking at it that way makes it easy to appreciate whatever is happening as part of the experience.