The beginning in Semporna

After the long period of stressing, carrying stuff, hailing a taxi, getting to bus I was finally sitting in a long distance bus from KK to my final destination Semporna, in the North East corner of Borneo island. During my ride I slept a lot getting rid of my jet lag but had the opportunity to observe the Mt. Kinabalu as we drove next to it and also the many many hectares of rain forest cut down from the places of new palm oil plantation and factories. Razor sharp edges and lines of emptiness on the same spots that used to be lush forest with diversity and undergrowth.

The first night was sleepless as I tried to get adjusted to heat by switching off the air condition...at the moment it works fine without!

My first course morning in here started with my beloved rain. I woke up too early and went for a walk. The night shift guys were asleep in the computer lounge, so I did not want to wake them up and decided to sneak out from the restaurant door where people were preparing for our breakfast. I took a walk down to the water, took pictures and enjoyed the fresh air. As usual, I was the only westerner awake at that time. I had a confrontation with the police; the guys scrolled down the car windows and said good morning. The morning market was busy, and the local good-transportation method used was wheel barrel.

On Monday morning I went to the dive shop as advised and got a boat ride to Mabul, a resort island where me and Freddy (young Brit) took our Emergency First Response course. The place was super, the instructor Ash was nice...but the mean frustration kicked in. I felt like I was very bad, it looked like I had never known any English in my life and I was totally confused with the masses of new words I had to learn, and as usual I did not give myself nothing but hard time. Yes, passed the test, but I was still feeling bad about all the confusion. Ash tried to cheer me up by finding me an extra place to Sipadan fro next morning and convincing me that I should take another day off. I decided to turn down the Sipadan offer (yes, it was tempting...the previous day 2 whale shark spotting, but as my contact lens solution was in my hostel room...the choice was made easier) and to study today. I of course did my first plunge into the water, went snorkeling and it was relaxing, also saw 2 white pipe fishes!

Getting back to village was indeed a good choice! I met some more people, some employees and some DMT´s (Dive Master Trainees) that gave me a peek to what it was going to be. The Swedish 'soon to be' DM, told me that she had felt the same as me for the first 3 weeks after her arrival. Keeping up with English language can be hard for a non native, and sometimes the natives just cannot see the struggle. I felt so much better after talking to her. Things will sort out, eventually. The next task will be the 3 days on a Rescue Course with bad diving scenarios.

EFR course was an easy one, to my luck, but it is getting tougher from now on. I should focus more on having fun and not stressing out. And hopefully the Rescue course will be the BEST as everyone keeps telling me, and I certainly hope that the Videos are better than with first aid. Maybe the only thing I learned from that is that I should carry disposable plastic gloves, eye shield and ventilation barrier as well as a bio hazard waste bag at all times to prevent getting infected by HIV or Hepatitis B or C, if you get into a situation where I need to give first aid. Of course this is in America. Where else can you can get a law sue after helping someone? Well, on our course we learned the most valuable lesson and a sentence of all times; “ Hello, my name is ----, I am a emergency first responder. May I help you?” And when said no, you just walk away...

At all times, you should STOP, THINK and ACT. My name is Katja and I am a emergency first responder. 

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