Eleven Sport and Exercise Science students and one lecturer had an incredible three weeks in the Maldives teaching a range of sports and running health clinics. Below is an excerpt from Josh Dipple on his trip of a lifetime in the Maldives;
“With our trip underway, the 11 representatives from UTS were in full swing of island mode. Island mode consisted of beginning later than the confirmed time, slow service at café’s and scooters pulling out in front of you on the roads, but island mode also includes privileges such as stronger connections with students, in clinics and workshops and luxuries such as snorkelling, fishing, turtle catching, island getaways and local eating. With the locals so welcoming of us foreigners, the transition into Maldivian life was made smoothly.
It was not all smooth sailing though, as anyone knows ups and downs are experienced in life. Sickness rocked the household for a few days and rain appeared in torrential measures for such long periods of time. But when given lemons, we make lemonade! Rain didn’t hold any team member back, with commitment still at full capacity, this signified by riding – to put it nicely – dysfunctional, broken bicycles where chains were falling off, pedals breaking off and seats going places they shouldn’t. Still riding to soccer, netball, swimming and nutrition clinics in monsoonal rain, this would form the identity of this exciting UTS group for the rest of the trip. Strong, determined, committed and passionate.
As all workshops and clinics began to finish up in the last week, it was a sad time for everyone, team UTS, the students and the parents that have ridden this journey with us over the 3 weeks. This was signified on Thursday, the climax to an amazing, life-changing experience with the workshops coming to a close, gifts exchanged and so many photos taken and shirts autographed that team UTS felt like celebrities, even if it was for only an hour or so. Soccer and netball students have team UTS presents in exchange for their commitment and dedication over the time, whilst swimming students provided a picnic after the final swimming lesson on that same Thursday, with some students lucky enough to be recognised with individual gifts from appreciative students and their parents. Coaches also provided gifts of their own, some even coming from their own expense, evident of the connection shared between coaches and students.
It was all coming to the conclusion, with Friday being a day for not only cleaning, packing and reflecting, but making the most of our last day in this beautiful country called the Maldives and specifically the atoll of Addu. Cricket with the locals began the day, with more goodbye photos taken, then a group lunch led into a private island resort for the afternoon. Farewell dinner was consumed and present shopping for the most important people was undertaken directly post-dinner. On arrival at the guesthouse after a long, jam-packed day, the team were finalising packing and getting some much needed sleep.
But this was so incorrect. It started with 2 swimming students offering to take team UTS of whom was awake 50 metres away where her cousins were dancing. Our preconceived ideas were not one of enjoyment or excitement with what was thought to be young kids dancing, but thought attending would be the right thing to do on our last night. Oh how we were wrong. There would have been 10-15 male dancers, aged approximately 20+ working up a sweat that could nearly put the Maldives underwater, yet the passion and enthusiasm which they exerted were sights to be seen. The locals soon caught onto us, offering us to dance, play drums and sing with them. It was absolutely amazing, experiencing a local party.
Team UTS sends out its biggest thankyou’s to Suna, Misbah, Bonda (Shamweel), Anif (Captain), Suni, Saif and Mika. There are many, many more people to thank, including students who attended clinics, food preparers and many more. Team UTS Maldives 2014 would just like to say that even though some faces were never identified, the hard work and effort put into everything running smoothly for what are 11 happy-go-lucky hooligans that loved every minute of their trip hasn’t gone unnoticed, with appreciation evident in spades.
Words aren’t able to sum up the gratitude we as a team have towards these wonderful people and this trip, but memories and experiences last a lifetime, so nothing will be forgotten.
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