Sunday was a largely uneventful day. I woke up at 12, having had just four hours sleep, and proceeded to read the PADI book extensively throughout the day – mostly inside, in an attempt to heal some of my sunburn. The night time however became really noisy, so I decided tonight that I would sleep outside with a few friends.
The events of this night drew to one of the darkest moments of my life ever. For sensitive reasons, I will not put the details of this night on this blog. My friends from IEMS – Nicoleta and Mihai – had had a ropey friendship with Ed and the AWF ever since they’d arrived. As I sat outside by the pool, it became more and more apparent that this was the night that it had all come to a head. The problem seemed to be with the funds that IEMS had paid to the AWF – Ed claims that money had been promised to fund the project, but not delivered, and was threatening with legal action. IEMS claimed to have fully funded the project and had sent all the money across prior to our arrival.
This was in large part a really heavy moment, as it seemed to cement the notion that the volunteer project was about to become segregated on a large scale – those who were on IEMS’s side and those who weren’t. This would have gargantuan implications between myself and my media production friends, but also for everyone else and the project in general. It wasn’t about taking sides, but the small food portions and the lack of any hot water seemed to be at the forefront of the debate.
The next day was when the project started fully. I migrated from the side of the swimming pool to the cave next to the tent during the night, and woke up there in the morning. Things started to get underway, before Ed addressed the situation after a presentation workshop. There was a very uncomfortable argument lasting the better part of thirty minutes, as volunteers argued that the food was too scarce, and cold showers were not foretold in the description prior to arrival. Ed claimed that the boiler was not designed to accommodate the amount of volunteers that had arrived, and cold water was not such a problem in African countries. If you wanted more food, you needed to ask for more – sated or not, those were the answers we got. The debate ended rather cold, with the fate of the project in the balance. Gladly, Teresa turned up later that evening, having recovered from her illness, and cooked us all the biggest meal we’d had yet – a plate of pasta and a bowl of Spanish salad with a dressing.
My chosen projects were the conservations of Sirenian species and Sea Turtles. These two were subsequently integrated into a single project, based in the Caribbean. I was the media link in the group, along with my fellow media student friend Emma. Together, we’d have to create a series of videos for an up-and-coming website. However, most of my spare time at this point was still spent reading the PADI book, before I eventually handed it to Faye to allow her to catch up.