In Turtle Bay the world is our classroom. On the west coast of India on the Arabian Sea, Turtle Bay Resort is right on the beach. I loved the beautiful beach, huge waves, rocks jutting out of the water, the swimming raft, and the clear blue sky. This was my first time really swimming in salty water and I loved it! Hearing the waves hit the shore 24/7 was super relaxing and soothing. Being at Turtle Bay we were able to spend some time in rural India, learning about Indian traditional medicine (Ayuverda), and issues pertaining to gender, hygiene, waste control, and infrastructure.
We met up with an NGO (non-governmental organization) called FSL India who focuses on installing toilets in fishing villages and on the beach. Historically the people that lived in Turtle Bay would just go to the bathroom on the beach and the tide would wash it away – in fact this still occurs. However a number of health issues arise from this way of living like hookworm, parasites, the cows and dogs eat the feces, and the smell. As well, the fishing women aren’t able to go to the bathroom on the beach when the sun is up because it is not safe for them. A simple solution to these problems is to install toilets in the fishing villages and close to the beach (fishing is probably the large income source for most people). During the fall semester our India class raised about just over $1000 to give away to some of the Indian charities that we visit, and in Turtle Bay we decided to donate some money to FSL India to build a toilet. There’s so much more to this NGO – I’m actually going to focus on this case study for my independent study this term in India so I’m looking forward to researching into the parameters of the issues more closely. If you are interested in this then I can send you my 20 page paper at the end of the semester to read. =)
One side trip in Turtle Bay that I have been looking forward to for months was snorkelling in the Arabian Sea. We took a boat for about 2 hours out to sea to a little uninhabited island. There were these gorgeous sea eagles living on the island though that were fun to watch. We put on snorkel gear and flippers and jumped off the side of the boat. The waves were pretty powerful on the beach at Turtle Bay and at this island they were also really powerful with a strong undertow. I ended up cutting my hands on the jagged rock and have 2 big cuts on my hands but they’re doing ok. They aren’t very deep, just the top few layers of skin were taken off. I’m keeping a close eye on them =) Snorkelling though was very cool. It was first time doing it and I could see some coral (brown in colour) and lots of fish. I saw quite a few schools and some really beautiful bright blue fish. There was also an eel but I couldn’t dive low enough to see it. I didn’t get sea sick form the boat but a few of the other students did – and when we went back to the resort that night everyone was completely wiped =)
Staying at Turtle Bay we learned some important lessons like when standing under palm trees, it’s important to know that dead branches/cocoanuts can fall on you at any moment. It happens. Being in Turtle Bay kind of feels like you’re on Survivor which can be great for self entertaining purposes =) I’ll never forget the sand and the sunsets and all the stars in the night sky.
- Leave only footprints, take only pictures