Getting Back at It

Activity Post #1 – DP1 Continued Ventures

At the start of this year, one of my main activity related goals was to continue the work I did last year with hiking, football, home workouts and diving. While this year began with quite a bit of uncertainty thanks to the prevailing lockdown conditions in the country which which limited my access to sports facilities and leaving the premises of my house in general, I adapted to the best of my ability to complete my goals in whichever capacity COVID would let me.

Hiking

In my goal blog post at the start of DP2, I mentioned that I would like to go hiking at least once again in the upcoming semester and what do you know, I was actually able to go once again. We were able to revisit Hanthana where my previous hike had been but due to improved weather conditions they actually allowed us to climb up the rock where Indiana Jones the Temple of Doom was filmed!! The exact name of the mountain is unknown but its is somewhere downriver from Victoria Dam in Kandy (which Hanthana is in very close proximity to) and was relatively close to the villa that we stayed at. As for the hike itself I would say that it was rather uneventful as this time around only a smaller handful of us went because the hike is more dangerous and is also at a much higher altitude and as expected not having a five year old with us on the trip eased so much of the pressure on the remaining hikers. That being said, although the terrain got a little bit slippery on the way up we managed to get up without much of a hitch and climb down safely and I felt that this time around I felt safer and more sure because  I knew what to and what not to do i.e.. step on loose rocks on the way down…😂 OH AND THIS TIME GUESS WHO ACTUALLY PACKED THEIR LEECH SOCKS?! Yes, that’s right,  yours truly finally remembered how much she did not want to get eaten by the little bloodsuckers and made sure to bring a pair along. Moving on, now naturally the iconic bridge from the movie was sadly no longer there but it still felt insane and surreal to be standing where this legendary series was filmed in 1984  almost 40 years ago!! And last but not least even though it got a bit too foggy up top to see the entire vista it’s easy to say that this was one of the most physically strenuous yet absolutely rewarding hikes I had done :))

^ Hike #3 since the start of my CAS journey

^ A still from the actual movie featuring the bridge (Den of Geek, 2014)

Diving

Yet another thing that I have been wanting to accomplish recently is to go diving which I had been meaning to do since around 3 months ago but couldn’t do so initially because of island wide travel restrictions and other COVID related concerns. However this time, I did get to actually go do a couple dives albeit they were merely recreational because it was a rather spontaneous decision to go visit the dive centers on our holiday. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t go on more than 1 dive because I couldn’t equalize and any diver would know that the last thing someone should do is continue when they can’t equalize because it could potentially puncture your eardrum so for while my brother went on his dives, I decided to head back to the shore with my friend Nehla (who came on the trip but wasn’t a certified diver) and her family to do some snorkeling closer to the beach. Weirdly enough my equalizing problem didn’t last very long but by that time I discovered that I could. the others were long gone on their dives so I had to sit the second one out which was a bit of a bummer since I was really looking forward to my second dive but snorkeling was fun nonetheless! There were less fish than we expected though most likely because of the state of the corals in the reef which weren’t looking too healthy :/

^ Myself (left) and my friend Nehela (right) snorkeling in Pasikudah

Working Out + Football

The third set of endeavors in the activity section of my blog I am continuing in DP2 is my commitment to football and completing home workouts to remain fit. While football was limited to mostly doing challenging drills at home, taking note from videos such as which guided me through getting back in form every day after school for 30 minutes to maintain my skillset, I also used another 30 minutes every other day (depending on the intensity of the workout) and my IB Wellness Days to complete certain Cirque du Soleil workouts.  Initially, I felt as though I had just signed myself up to a year of torture because the Cirque du Soleil workouts are extremely rigorous and are mostly used by professionally trained athletes and in the first week I had to take many breaks to complete my session and it left me sore for days but after a few sessions of just building up stamina I was able to circulate through about 3 workout videos and taking less breaks. This goes without saying that the workout sessions are still a work in progress and that it’s a matter of getting back in shape before actually straining myself, so looking forward I have decided to maybe alternate my workouts from non Cirque du Soleil ones and the harder ones. In the upcoming months I aim to focus more specifically on cardio, abs, arms and legs and maybe also do some yoga every odd week to relieve some tension that gets built up following my workouts.

Practicing shots on a mini goal for improved accuracy

Here are the videos that I used:

Home Workouts –

Football-

IVY GIRLS – Pt. 2

IVY GIRLS – ACTION PROJECT

In my last blog post, I introduced everyone to the IVY GIRLS Lead project which I became a member of in late December 2020. However, although in my earlier post, my focus was on the guest speaker element of the project,  another major part of the program that  I want to talk about is the service task which we were asked to complete after our first 2 weeks as a trial to see how well we were able to apply what we were taught to real life.

We were each asked to pick out a topic on which we wanted to work on and then assigned groups with random members based off of our interests. We were then asked to brainstorm a project outline, create an effective plan and then present it to a panel of judges on our final day of week 2. Once approved we were expected to complete our tasks over the span of 3 months (or more) to hopefully end up accomplishing the intended end goal.

I had a difficult time choosing between two topics, gender inequality and ocean pollution. The deciding factor in the end ended up being the fact that I had to choose something that was doable during the COVID situation, and while I was passionate about sport I had doubts that others would think the same way. This is why I decided to continue my efforts which I started out in the 10th Grade with my MYP 5 Personal Project, only this time, with added elements and it being more of a group effort. This would also ultimately help me in fulfilling my CAS goals.

Our progress check in was actually due yesterday, here is an excerpt from what I submitted on behalf of my group members…

Towards the start of  the of Ivy Girls Lead action project, the Reef Revival group consisting of Thimanya and Ayesha and I took on a very venturesome initiative to raise awareness on to raise awareness regarding the issue of ocean pollution amongst social media users; while, taking a personal course of order to do our part in combating the issue in question within Sri Lanka’s oceans. 

Over the course of the past few months we have done our level best to stay true to our goal despite many major challenges we were met with.

Here are few of the biggest obstacles we have faced:

  • Although I reached out to 5 dive centers in order to initiate underwater cleanups and only one responded, we were able to carry out two dives but they shut down too due to the lack of business and risk of COVID (i.e.. having to re-use equipment). 
  • We could not have as much physical engagement as we liked considering the pandemic situation so we were forced to do this within our families and close friend circles in a much less official way. 
  • Thimanya could not get a lot of beach cleanup participants considering the COVID-19 situation as well.
  • School work and distance interfered more with our project than we anticipated, while Thimanya and I kept continuous correspondence via WhatsApp and G-Mail our third group member who was supposed to take on the role of the researcher did not interact with us at all despite how many times we emailed her or used slack, which meant that Thimanya and I had to carry out her share of the tasks ourselves.

Overall, the obstacles that we were faced with, to a degree reduced our productivity and narrowed down the limits of how much we could achieve with our goal during this period of time, however, I am very proud of how we decided to stay true to our initial plan and took up our goals to the best of our ability. 

Here are a few of our greatest accomplishments:

  • We officially launched our social media campaign, Reef Revival which gained the desired amount of traction and so much more than we anticipated we hit 50 followers in 3 days!
  • Our first post, which was a trailer / awareness edit that I made as an introduction to our initiative, reached many activists around the world who congratulated us on our efforts, our friends and family were also very supportive and reposted and shared our content etc. We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the support.
  • Thimanya who was in charge of the beach cleanups carried two out successfully at Pinawatta  within her family and with the help of the municipal council in her district. 
  • I was able to carry out two successful dive cleanups at Swami Rock, collecting over 30kg’s worth of debris, most of our haul consisting of plastic bags and bottles with additional surprising collections of a massive cement block, fish cage wiring, a few corroded poles, lots of rope and ceramics. 
  • We came into contact with a major ocean pollution advocate and social media influencer named Arlian Ecker on Instagram. He’s only 16 and is already an ambassador for Project AWARE with over 2k followers! The Ocean Purpose Project panelist has been a great mentor and has actively encouraged us to follow through with our project. We even discussed the prospects of doing a Q and A or collaborative project with him in the near future! (which we are very excited for! )
  • Our project was kickstarted with the help of many other popular awareness blogs such as SEAFOAM , Bali Dive Time and Aqua5 who loved our content and helped spread the word about our initiative.
  • Our first post had a 36 person share rate which is pretty major for an Instagram post!
  • I was also able to carry out my own beach cleanup with the help of my family and friends at a beach in Hiriketiya which was very polluted to the begin with; the content we recovered ranged from bottles of poison to fishing lines and an overwhelmingly large collection of washed up shoes. 
  • We were able to engage with our followers via the IG story feature, regularly quizzing and educating them on our action; we decided that stories would be more efficient than releasing posts because they get a bigger reach due to notifications that followers get, but we also release a few posts designed by Thimanya.
  • I was also able to log my Data successfully onto Project AWARE’s diver profile which is available to the general diving community and scientists who analyze the data that divers collect. 

What the future holds for Reef Revival:

Hopefully we are able to continue our efforts in the following months especially with the COVID situation easing around the island, we are hoping that for the sake of the project and the local community that Dive Centers are allowed to go back into business so that we can have greater engagement with the community, have more cleanups and make it a more engaging experience. As for the near future, we are currently looking forward to doing the Q and A with Arlian Ecker (plastic free boy)  and hopefully get many more activists involved in the project, maybe even at local capacity. We also plan on  carrying out the installation of the bins in the beaches close by with the money that Thimanya has raised for that purpose and more generally, expanding our following and engagement.

Creativity – Designing Posts + Stories

Activity – Diving 

Service – Raising Awareness + The Removal of Rubbish

 

Detailed Action Plan:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Cb46XrVRakONA2p7vJkNC-jin__8nwmI/view?usp=sharing

Progress Check- In ( click link for more images & details ): 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nabsBU7EQ7T7pRWvcbQKyxZjEjADtBiXa0jZ6PNACW4/edit?usp=sharing

^ hiriketiya beach pre-cleanup

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