Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Goodbye and thank you to Genevieve Gammage.

Genevieve came to us two years ago,in that time she has grown from a girl into a confident woman of substance it has been a pleasure to watch he grow and be a part of the process.We will miss her terribly. I wish you everything Gen and thank you so much for you. (Tim Kirkpatrick, Country Director, GVI Seychelles). Here is Gen's GVI story.

GVI can change your life. A bit of a cliché I know but one that is true for so many people, including myself.

I left the UK in April 2007, heading to GVI Seychelles, the first stop on an ‘around-the-world’ ticket. It turned out to be the first and last stop. I’m still here, two years and three months later, coming to the end of my trip, no longer as a volunteer but as Expedition Manager.

After over two years in the mortgage industry it was time for me to make some big changes in my life. I booked my flight ticket, packed my bags and said a tearful goodbye to my family and friends. As I peered up at the huge granitic cliffs that towered over me as I stepped off the plane in Mahe (Seychelles main island) I knew I had made the right decision. The first three weeks of the expedition were filled with fascinating lectures, coral workshops, training dives and getting to know my fellow volunteers. From cooking for over thirty people to operating a compressor I was never short of new things to learn. I even managed to learn how to dive without bashing my buddy with my fins, something I wasn’t entirely convinced I would ever achieve! I had unbelievable encounters with whale sharks and manta rays and got to hang out with like-minded people all day, I was hooked. I applied for an internship so I could stay for another ten weeks and help to teach the next group everything I had learnt. I still vividly remember the moment that the expedition manager offered me the position, I was overjoyed. I spent the following six months as an intern, during which time I developed my teaching skills, became a PADI Divemaster and had a thousand more mind blowing experiences.

Just before Christmas 2007 I was asked to become a paid staff member, I couldn’t believe that I was going to be paid to do something I loved so much, I felt like the luckiest person in the world. After a brief visit to the UK I returned to develop the community work project with the International School of Seychelles and help the volunteers share their marine knowledge with the children. I held an assembly at the school and was featured in an article in the local paper. In April 2008 I became a PADI Instructor so I could teach the Advanced Open Water and Coral Reef Research Diver courses. I spent a phase at the satellite camp on the beautiful island of Curieuse working alongside the Marine Park Rangers and teaching volunteers to tag turtles.

I was offered the position of Expedition Manager to start in October 2008 and have spent the last nine months working alongside an amazing team of staff who have become some of my closest friends.

When I look back at the me that arrived in the Seychelles in 2007, with next to no knowledge of diving or the marine world, I can barely comprehend the amount of skills and knowledge I’ve gained. I’ve not only learnt about marine life, I’ve also learnt about myself. I will leave here with the knowledge that I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it.

Thank you GVI J



callie said...

good luck, gen! i know you will be amazing at whatever you try! GVI will miss you immensely i am sure, as i certainly do! stay in touch (thank god for FB)

love!!! Callie