Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Visiting a Local Island

Wow, it has been a great two days! The Maldives is very tourist driven and most of the islands that are open to tourists are filled with resorts. This is not the Maldives we wanted to see. We instead wanted to see the local community and learn more about the culture here. When providing training in a country with a culture different from ours, it is important to understand as much as possible and to be culturally sensitive. The amazing ladies at the Maldives Association arranged for a trip to a local island for our team. We took an hour long boat ride to and island called Hurra. Many of the people living on Hurra were born and raised there and it is common for the entire family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents) to live under one roof.

We were welcomed into the homes of the locals and they were extremely hospitable. They even carved out coconuts with fresh coconut water for each of us! After visiting some homes, we toured the only school on the island. We were very impressed! There were signs everywhere encouraging Character Education and the classrooms were very inviting and set up well. We learned that while there are not special services for children who have a disability, they teach children at their ability level. We then headed to a home where the children have Quran studies and an adorable 5-year-old boy read us a passage. He was so cute and proud!

The island has a very peaceful feeling to it and we were very thankful to have visited. We really enjoyed talking with the parents of children and interacting with the kids themselves. We finally headed back to Bandos, where we are staying, and enjoyed the incredible views of the Indian Ocean, surfers, huge manta rays, and other gorgeous island. What a great day :)

I will (or one of the other team members) will blog soon about our first day of training!

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