Back to the Beach! (Week #2)
With the second week of Earthraging coming to a close, we could not have had a more instructive, immersive, and inspirational four days! Over the span of eight beach sessions, Earthraging with English has taught over 200 students to swim, collected over 50 bags of miscellaneous junk and jetsam, and provided more than 15 hours of individual formative fun for the RPK students!
Like our first sessions, this week’s activities started with a short briefing and introduction at the school, which was promptly followed by the excited and inevitable scramble of students into the bus and soon onto the beach. Once there, the students broke into groups of 6 to 10 per teacher, depending on the total count per session (some sessions more than 50 students!), and started their mandatory beach clean-up.
Once finished, the students made their way into the shallow freshwater inlet and were introduced to some swimming and snorkeling techniques by their respective teachers. It was only after each group had mastered all the skills on our swimming checklist that they were given free time to practice their newly acquired skills. Due to the wide variety of student swim skill levels, a few kids often chose to remain in the freshwater inlet to build sandcastles, have swim races, and to just splash around, but the majority of the students often chose to link arms and run straight to the sea! The especially large and powerful waves this week tested the students’ resolves and swim skills, though many of them were eager to get out of the waist-deep freshwater inlet and jump/swim/flail around in the action-filled ocean. It was amazing to watch the initial fear and threat of the waves quickly subside from the students’ faces as they soaked up the midday sun and had a blast amidst the ocean motion.
In short, our four sessions this week were an amazing way to end the beach aspect of our program, and we can’t wait to take the students swimming again in our upcoming pool sessions! A HUGE thank you to everyone involved in the wild success of this first portion of the program, most noticeably to Wicked Diving (we see you Lena, Keith, Alex, Tung, Inge, Glen, Jen, Luke, and Denise!) and to Khun Lak—we can’t wait to update you all on our adventures in the Andaman Sweetlips Dive Academy swimming pool this coming week!
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Sending sunshine to all,
Bing, Libby, Dallas, and Byron