Blog of my one month in the Seychelles:
I've wanted to volunteer in Africa since I was 17 so it was nice to fulfill a life long dream but if I had to do it over again I'd spend two or three months instead of just one. The training and slow dive schedule didn't give me much opportunity to contribute; only one short week of actual survey work. That being said however the rest of it was everything I'd hoped for. Anyone who's been to summer camp will immediately recognize the situation, 20+ strangers thrown into dormitories together and given shared duties of cooking and cleaning tends to make people put their best foot forward and like any closed environment you have a ready made circle of friends, kind of like high school. It helps that everyone there is already like-minded, outgoing and has an altruistic streak; in short the people are genuine and were the best part of the experience even for an introvert like me. The living conditions were better than expected and the early bed/early rise schedule actually worked well for me. I always thought I wasn't a morning person, turns out I just don't go to bed early enough. The food was not always inventive but it generally covered the four food groups and the lack of white bread and processed foods made a big difference in my energy level. I lost ten pounds due to healthier food and increased activity and would have easily lost ten more had I stayed another month. Having been home four days now and pigging out on chicken burgers, croissants and sandwiches I already miss the simpler meals of camp.
Now that I'm trained up on fish survey methodologies I'd be interested in doing another four week program somewhere if they would let me challenge the fish identification exams, do a couple fish spot dives for confirmation and then get right into survey work. Either way though I hope I get to visit with the people I met, either abroad on my own travels or if they come to Canada. I've got a couple of guest bedrooms that any of you guys are welcome to!