The volunteer organizers have been out of town since I’ve been here, stuck at the border into Mozambique. The other divers and I have had quite a bit of free time. Most of the group are just learning to dive, and spent the day in a classroom doing dive tables. I have been learning my fish….the fish surveys involve butterflyfish, rock cods (groupers), parrots and surgeonfish. So I learn 60 fishes for doing the surveys. I think I’ve just about got them, though.
After I looked at the fish, I decided to go over to Casa Barry, the lodge where the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna is located. I was so interested to come to Tofo because of Dr Andrea Marshall and Dr Simon Pierce, manta and whale shark researchers I saw on National Geographic (or Discovery, cannot remember). Andrea Marshall came to Tofo to do her dissertation, and has now been here for 10 years. I met her this evening at a whale shark talk given at Casa Barry. I certainly hope to attend talks that she gives on the manta rays while I am here.
So, I decided to walk to Casa Barry ( you walk everywhere here ) and my new young friends lunch at Casa Barry >Leslie, Marcel and Ben asked to come along. It was very sweet of them to come with me, so we had a nice lunch (the food was delicious) and then took a nice long walk on the beach. The tide was out and there were all kinds of things to look out. Sponges, tidal pools, groups of mussels that looked like rocks they were so thick, and huge dunes. Local people are out collecting mussels and whatever else they can find, they are also fishing off the beach. The people are so very poor here. The currency is the metical, and 1.00 buys 25 meticals. Children are selling bracelets and jewelry in the market for 20 meticals. The bank in Inhambane gave me huge bills, like 1,000.00 meticals, and no one has change for them. Tomorrow I plan to visit the market.
I’m very happy that in spite of my age the “kids” seem to accept me. I was very surprised when 3 of them came along with me to Casa Barry. I have so much admiration for them…I have found out that some of them are older than I thought, but here they are, taking time from their lives to do volunteer work, to travel the world, meet new people. Some of the older people (in 30s) have either quit their jobs for 3 months or so to do this, or taken leave, they have saved up in order to do this. It is a great group of people, always interesting, so many different experiences all over the globe. Many speak several languages, all are open minded and excited to try new things. Me likee.
We attended a whale shark talk this evening and now everyone is hanging out. Suzanne, from London, is the only volunteer here that is not on the whale shark project, she is here to work with children. She spent the day at an orphanage in Inhambane (she is supposed to teach in a school) and it sounded rather harrowing. She said the babies are very hard to take…I can only imagine. If my friend Lyn was here she’d be over there adopting some. The children in the markets are heart wrenching enough.
Tomorrow I will explore further.