After a long flight and some sightseeing time in Kota Kinabalu, we finally arrived on Mantanani Island. We were very lucky, the weather had just changed and this allowed the boat to cross the South China Sea; other schools had suffered delays and had to wait for calmer waters. Aida, Camp Manager, gave us a bit of R&R time on our first day and walked us into the main village. We formed Team Vale Academy and Barnwood Park team. The projects are coming on really well and when we saw the new community building, we couldn’t wait to get started.
Those doing the Scuba took part in a teatime Scuba game which involved learning too. They had to sort their scuba equipment and then run under the gate, across the sand, swim out to the boat – back in and through the tire to tag the next person in the group. It was hysterical! Leah and Emma were fantastic with the equipment and Lukas, Matthew, Chloe and Georgie really went for the race and won hands down.
The Scuba teams are a mix of students from both schools. The first team [Team 8] to go included Matthew, Harry and Nathan with all the Barnwood girls. They started scuba on Tuesday and are loving it. The remaining Vale girls [in Team 9a] started scuba today, Thursday 26th July and seem to be loving it although I don’t think they loved the 06.15am start.
On Tuesday, the non scuba students went with me to do the first project : bench building at the small village library. This gives the children somewhere to sit outside under the shade and read. We split into two groups and were provided with a saw, hammer, nails. The logs were cut down near the beach and we fetched those ourselves. Tom and I joined Barnwood Park girls Zoe and Izzy. Vale bench builders: Chloe, Becky, Leah, Holly and Payton made up the other team. After two days we had produced 5 excellent benches complete with woven palm backs [ we’d learnt how to weave palm earlier…]. Absolutely brilliant!
On Wednesday we collected plastic from the beach and learnt how to fold the strips to make purses. We are all now constantly thinking of ways to use rubbish. The students were brilliant at this; apart from the cutting out, they put me to shame! Wednesday night was awesome. At 8pm, the children from the village came and danced for us. Of course, they got students up to dance and who ended up commanding the stage? Lukas! His dance with one of the village girls was unbelievable – that boy’s certainly got rhythm and some of the funniest facial expressions I have ever seen. Everyone was in hysterics.
Thursday 26th Both teams are out doing scuba so non scubas went with me and Colin to do bottle collecting on the beach. We’ve washed them and decorated & filled the windows of the conservation building – it looks fab – well done girls! Sarah, Zoe, Izzy, Rebecca and of course myself and Colin worked really hard to get it looking good as it faces the main beach footpath.
Overall? They are getting used to eating rice all the time, Becky ate squid last night for the first time ever, Harry willingly ate all the fish and went back for seconds and no-one is going hungry. We could say the mozzy’s are eating fairly well too although no-one has any problem bites. It’s hot but not too humid as we’ve got the sea breeze. We started a game of Human Cluedo last night and already Tom , Emma D and Leah are out ; Holly is winning at this point, keep checking back for an update. You can also see more pics on Camps Int facebook page where the main office will keep posting updates.
So… we are doing well and looking forward to the next Camp. We leave for Tinangol on Monday.
Final thought – the only true failure is the failure to try – all the students in this whole group are really trying and I’m sure we’ll continue to have a fantastic time. Life on Mantanani is just brilliant. - Sandy King