Thursday, August 2, 2012

One School Group and the Best Turtle Quote Ever

Awhile back Alice Smith, an international school from Kuala Lumpur, spent a few days at the turtle project. A total of 150 high school kids came through the project in six different shifts over three days. Whammo! We were busy. We had groups of 25 on the grounds at each time and unfortunately the kids only came by once so we didn't get to know them too well since they only spent a few hours here then left. All groups got the usual conservation spiel of ours. Then it was activity time, which consisted of two things: either helping build terraces for a slew of new banana trees on a hillside or constructing fresh uniform signboards for our public outreach area. Alli was in charge of terracing and fruit, myself the wood, hammers, nails and chiseling that would eventually turn into signboards.

Alice Smith students, from Kuala Lumpur, getting busy putting in a banana terrace.
Motivating city high school kids who just want to holiday on a tropical island can be a daunting feat. I might just be getting old but the idea of profusely sweating outside, getting your hands dirty and ferociously pounding chisels with hammers is not on a younger generations' to-do-list. Some kids could care less, some went through the motions, while others seemed interested and then there were the ones who were super duper into it. One group out of the six was gung-ho: they went to town on the banana terraces and also helped me crank out some signboards, carving wood and notching posts like pros. The whole crew was rockin' in the free world. It was such a treat to see younger folk actually get behind some of the conservation (sea turtle and marine awareness) and self-sufficient (farming our own food) ideas we presented to them just before they started work.

One of the signboard crews chiseling away. I photobombed this one beautifully.
Plus the winner of the best turtle quote ever came from this bunch. The lines were spoken up on the hillside terrace, where Alli was lucky enough to hear them. It goes like this:

Teacher to students: "Alright everyone we have only five minutes left to work, as the taxis are already here to take us back."

Amazing student: "Five minutes!?!?! The turtles don't have five minutes! They're dying!!!"

He then proceeded to keep savagely shoveling away dirt on the hillside. So glorious. 

More enthusiastic students getting their banana terrace on.

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