So, as I was saying, the first week went pretty well! Dan and I were preparing to take a welcomed off day to explore Fuladhoo, when we got a request from Goidhoo to reschedule the island cleanup-to the next morning-due to political activities. Without a better option for the community, we decided to go for it and hold it on Friday. Wisham still managed to garner a lot of last minute support, and we found a large group of all ages when we arrived that morning! It was a challenge to keep organized with so little preparation, but in the end it turned out well, with the community finishing the town cleanup in just over two hours! Over a hundred bags of trash and four jumbo bags of recycling ended stacked on the jetty. (Shout out to man Chad “Ali” Oliver for giving up his day off to help our island cleanup!)
Some setbacks started, however. The constant storms in the area had prevented students from taking extra classes on other islands, people from shopping, campaigning, and visiting family. We ended up with a much smaller team of volunteers for the second survey of the town, and most of the thousands of fish we introduced into the swamp became sick from salt intrusion. Plenty of the people we were coordinating with were gone, and a lot of the student helpers stopped coming (and had tutoring). We tried our best to shore up areas surrounding town and fix all the mosquito problem areas we had found. We also worked to find a solution to the jungle breeding but felt short on resources and manpower. Finally, we worked out details for project sustainability with island administrators. Wisham took on the project director role, survey leaders were identified, and Lira even managed to get increased commitment from the school for student help!
I left the island wishing for a bit more energy at the end, but overall hopeful for the long-term prospects of survey and mosquito control. It was a great town to work with and somehow was an environment that always felt comfortable and welcoming. It helped to have a great team mate. Thanks Dan!