I (Dan) am writing this on the evening of Tuesday (the second “proper” day) of the Future Leaders programme.
The candidates arrived in two large groups (and a few stragglers) on Sunday – generally very tired from long long journeys. They ate, and disappeared to bed.
On Monday, the day was generally a “getting to know you” and a “setting the scene” kind of day – getting people sorted out with kit, and arranging people into the appropriate groups.
We spent the afternoon running small workshops – and rotating everybody through – doing some of the elements that are common to all of the programmes. It was a great opportunity for us to spend a short amount of time with every single candidate… and the thing that really struck me (in contrast to the Sudanese and Lebanese projects we have run) is what a truly diverse group we have – I knew that would be the case, but I think I under-estimated HOW diverse.
Unquestionably, my favourite thing about the programme so far has been spending time talking with the candidates – my favourite thing about the world of “lifesaving” and “drowning prevention” that we work in, is how warm, caring, kind, compassionate, and truly dedicated these wonderful volunteers are. It truly is a privilege and a pleasure to be part of that group.
Monday evening had nothing planned so that the candidates had time to rest and relax. It was lovely to spend the evening with Hamid – and catch up with news from the Sea Scouts in Sudan, and to start to plan our next Sudanese project.
Today (Tuesday) has been a busy day. The groups have separated out into their three streams – and for the Beach Lifeguard Development programme (that I am co-delivering) and the Aquatic Survival Instructor programme (that Tom is co-delivering) – that has means the entire day running through the basic skills in the water.
The challenge with this beach in Zanzibar is that at low tide, the water deep enough to swim in is very far away – and there are a lot of sea urchins in the way (which spike you!). We managed to avoid most of them, but one or two people got spiked.
It has been a physical day today with a lot of swimming, towing, and rescue techniques – a really broad & quick introduction to a wide variety of skills to give us a sound foundation to build upon next week. There are some very very strong candidates, and some weaker ones – but there are plenty of instructors here to support everybody through the development process.
Tomorrow all of the candidates start the first day of the “train the trainer” programme – so we’re not in the water, but it will be a mentally busy day, rather than a physically busy one…. particularly as I am likely to be translating for the Cameroonian candidates.
Time for bed now. I’ll try to write again soon.