The last two weeks….

It has been really humid and hot here except for today, overcast rain and high 20's and this is forecast for the whole week.

So I am coming to the end of this years journey and I have really enjoyed it.  So many adventures and fun times.  So just a couple of highlights, teaching in the pool has been really so much fun.  The kids just get it and they learn so quickly.  Jo has been in with me to see how I teach the expat kids so I was able to show her and give her some tips.  Yes its is different to teaching the Vietnamese kids, expat kids are just like the kids at home always want to either be under the water or playing and not paying attention.  Its all about keeping control of the class ha ha!

Some of the kids from our swim program are this week swimming at the championships in Tam Ky which is really exciting for Swim Vietnam and of course their families. The kids don't swim in age groups but on times which is interesting as you end up with all ages in a race.  If they make it to the national championships then it is age groups. Wishing them all the best and I hope to see them in action.

Michele from Dingo Deli and one of my friends here in Hoi An took me on a "get Lost in Hoi An" tour on the back of her motorbike.  It was soooo much fun.  Bush bashing through the rice paddies and ending up who knows where.  Even she got lost a few times!  As soon as you go even 1km form the centre you are in farmland and then you can turn a corner and bang another lot of houses going up.  There is so much building going on even from last year.  Our end stop was GTV Sports bar run by Micheles husband Gordon had a well earned beer and G & T we had been out bashing for 5 hours!! Nice day and much needed break.

At the moment the weather is pretty unpredictable and take each day as it comes.  I have been unwell this week with a sinus infection but all good you can buy medication over the counter here no need for the doctor!  Feeling much better today.  My Homestay family are very kind people and when they know I was unwell have been feeding me lemon drinks and rice soup which has been helping me feel a little better.  Even this morning as I had not got out of bed Nga came and checked on me and said that I must each rice soup for breakfast and yes it has made me feel a lot better together with the medication so should be back in the pool at the end of the week. Rest rest and more rest is what was needed.

Well it is certainly going to be sad to leave in a weeks time but in a few weeks my friend Van from Green Bamboo cooking school will visit us in Oz for a few days and in February Trung and Chien two of Swim Vietnams teachers will be visiting as well, so will look forward to showing them the northern beaches (these two hate to have a beer or two!!).  I am looking forward to as many of you to meet the guys they are too much fun and are very dedicated to Swim Vietnam and what they stand for.

See you soon...

Water Skills for Life

Swim Vietnam - An amazing two weeks...

So now a very hot steamy day here and the adventure continues!

Well life is never still here in Hoi An.  The past 10 days have flown by and I have only two more weeks to go which is very sad indeed.  

So where do I begin?  After the successful training session for the team at Tien Phuoc, Jo asked if I could attend a meeting with the education dept and the head of the peoples committee the red cross and the primary school heads.  I must say I feel very important here and a great privilage to be involved with this part of the Swim Vietnam's operation and the plans for the future.  It is really an experience to do meeting here they do love to talk and discuss and are very eager to have as many meetings as possible in a short period of time!  It is all too funny let me say.  

So after the important first meeting it was then onto the primary school to discuss the location of the new pool.  Within 5 mins of arriving at the school all the teachers we had at training just appeared from nowhere so lots of shaking hands and they were very pleased to see us ( i am now going to have to really work on learning Vietnamese now!!  Not easy let me tell you!).  So the area was decided upon and then was the meeting to discuss the timeline for the preparation of the area to put the pool.  The pools hold 66,000 litres of water so they are extremely heavy and the ground needs reinforcing. Amazingly though it will only take them 10 days to do the preparation, put up a fence and roof  over the pool(construction gets done really fast here) 

After this meeting we had our last meeting of the day which was just to go over what we had already discussed then onto lunch. Amazing food as always.  Then the new teachers wanted to meet with us before we left oh and guess what,  they were drinking beer!!  Its is very funny they love to talk and celebrate everything.  By the way Tien Phouc is 100km form Hoi An and takes 2 hours to get there oy joy oy!!!

The next big meeting I had to attend was with the Foreign Affairs and other ngo's and Peoples committees of Quang Nam Province. Very important meeting as the Government are now supporting Swim Vietnam and providing money for the program.  They intend to work with Swim Vietnam to provide every primary school with swim lessons.  This is a massive step forward.  The meeting itself was interesting due to the fact it was all in Vietnamese so I had Trung translating for me.  I was there as a representative for Jo as she was in Singapore on business.

So this brings me to last Sunday.  The monster swim for the vunerable children of Hoi An. (yes i was also teaching and assisting and the pools as well!!) The teachers did us proud 8 of them supported Rudy the organiser who set out to swim 10.2km.  One of our teachers Liem did the whole distance just amazing, three teachers Chien, Vu and Long made it to Palm Gardens about 4km and the rest only to Golden Sands which is under 1km.  Swim Vietnam have received a cheque for 20 million VD ($1,000 USD)  which is great with more to come.

This brings me back to this week.  Have been in the pool helping out and also meeting with Jo and the pool supervisors and implementing procedures for the pool and programs.  I am going to have a few days off not doing anything and just resting which will be great.

Just loving being here in Hoi An with all my Viet friends and being part of something worthwhile.

Bye for now....

Water Skills for Life

Swim Vietnam - a busy 2 Weeks

Its been a very busy time here in Hoi An so much is going on that I have not had too much free time.  I know that sounds funny but it really is.

I have had many invites to have dinner, coffee and yes the occasional drink or five!!  So Jo has returned from the UK and all the volunteers are in fine form working with the teachers and having a grand old time.  They are a really nice group of youngsters in fact 3 of them leave today to continue their travels and that leaves me and two other volunteers. 

So what have i been up to well I have been working with the trainee teachers getting them up to speed with their swimming skills and then budding them up with our teachers here in Hoi An to assist and see how we teach the children here.  These new teachers come from and area called Thien Phouc which I have been told is about 100km from Hoi An.It really shows that the water safety message is getting out there and these guys are very very keen to start the swim program in their location.  We are installing the next pool there so so they are very excited. Most of the guys are around 40 to 50 years old and to see there dedication was amazing.  Each time I instructed them in a skill it was fantastic to see them trying so hard and each day improving.  I am very confident that they will make great teachers.  the next step for them is to attend the next Austswim course here in Hoi An which will probably be at the end of the teaching season here (September).

Two representatives from Paul Sadler Swimland have just been here to inspect the pool and how things are going. Both reps Mark and Marcus were very impressed with the way the teachers are teaching so what we have implemented is definitely working here.

A couple of highlights these past two weeks were spending time with Chein and his family.  Chien is one of our best teachers and is the pool manager at Nguyen Du pool.  Great family they live out in the rural part of Hoi An in Cam Thanh.  I have been invited several time to have dinner with them and there extended family and as most are learning English they get plenty of practice when I am present.  Chien's son An is a beautiful 8yr old boy who has taken a shine to me.  I minded him the other night while Chien and his wife Trang went to english lessons.  So I had An, Sophia (my homestay family's daughter) and Lucky (Sophias cousin) all sitting on my bed watching tv and playing games!!  I seem to be the pied piper at the moment!

Another highlight was the trainee teachers completion of their weeks introduction training for Swim Vietnam.  We presented them with certificates of participation and we had a celebratory dinner (in other words lets drink beer!!) The teachers love a party and to socialise it really is so much fun.

During the past week i have also been working with Jo and attending meetings with the deputy head master of Dai Loc and the head of the education dept of Quang Nam province to discuss the future of the swim program in Dai Loc and the surrounding areas.  I am very happy to be involved with this and to be able to support Jo and Trung (manager for swim vietnam) to allow the program to continue.  They have a very bright future ahead.

So I know there are many more stories to tell but I have to get back to work (ha ha)  I have been teaching almost every day and loving it.  This week we have two more meeting to attend one at Thien Phouc for the new pool and the other in Tam Ky with the forieng affairs dept to discuss and network with other ngo's operating in Vietnam should be very interesting. We are trying to get the government to support us with some funding  so keep all your fingers crossed!!

Water Skills for Life

2013 Journey Begins....

Well the first three weeks of this years adventure was spent with my friend Jenny and I travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia and ending in Hoi An where I am at the present volunteering with swim Vietnam again for the 4th year.  

On my arrival here Jo (Swim Vietnam Director) and the other volunteers met for a meeting in town where I was informed that Jo was heading back to the UK for 10 days and myself and Trung were looking after things while she was away that was all good but she left the same day so a very quick handover. 

Now for the update on the swim program. All is going relative well.  Have been catching up with all the teachers, new and old, and overseeing what they are doing at the two pools in Hoi An, hopping in the pool to help teach which is fab however a soon as I get in I seem to have a class of my own.  too funny these poor kids have to put up with my very limited Vietnamese but they all have a giggle and do understand with a hand action (yes still not mastered the pronunciation!!)  still a few issues with water quality and other small stuff but on the whole the teachers are doing a great job.  This week we have 9 prospective teachers from one of the outlying areas where swim Vietnam will be putting up another pool so that will make 6 in total.  These guys are all sports teachers from the local schools and they all have told me they can swim very well but on further inspection yesterday at the pool some have it and some don't so there is fair bit of training to happen to get them up to standard.

The other volunteers here are having a ball. There are three from Australia and two from Ireland.  They have worked out at Dai Loc and Nam Phouc and have experienced so much of Vietnamese life they had some very funny stories to tell.  I have had so many dinners, coffees and catchups which has been really nice seeing all my friends here in Hoi An and looking forward to working and helping out. So now we are up to date I hope that you are all well and I will keep you posted.

There have been a lot of changes here in Hoi An and the program is progressing to adding another pool at the end of the year so that will make a total of 6 pools.  

I have some talking/meetings with Jo to do to see what happens in the future.  

Wish you were all here enjoying the heat!!!

Water Skills for Life