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The end of week 2!   (published in Fiji)

September 25, 2016 by   Comments(0)

Oh my have I only been at my placements two weeks?? It seems so much longer! Kindy is going great I really feel part of the team. It's so lovely to hear when I arrive at 8am each morning the children shout 'Good morning teacher'. They really are cute. Natalyia (16 year old volunteer from Australia) and I did some great craft activities based on wild animals. We really were creative and 3G and Pinterest really came in handy! Fijian birds next week, that's proving to be a little more tricky!! My afternoons have been tricky! For one reason or  another I ended up teaching the class on my own Monday, Wednesday and Thursdmay afternoon with no warning! Decided to do some Jolly Phonics with them as letter names rather than sounds seems to be the way they have been taught. Thank heavens for my iPhone, 3G and Debbie back at home who managed to get the sound track and corresponding pictures to me. It wasn't straight forward for the children to be able to listen to the sounds but once again my phone came into its own!!  Next week hopefully Cassie (volunteer from Australia) and I are going to be doing phonics with the 'slow readers' so they were called at school. Right in my comfort zone. I really felt that I helped one family at kindy this week. Their son is autistic and so I was able to share lots of information with the little boys mum and once I'm home I will be emailing things out to her. It's so sad to see and hear about the lack of provision for parents and children over here with special needs. As lots of you know working with parents and children with special needs are real passions of mine. The little boys Mum is doing amazingly with him but like lots of parents I have worked with there are some tough decisions to be made shortly. My heart went out to her when ...

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The end of week 2!
The end of week 2!

English Classes   (published in Togo)

September 23, 2016 by   Comments(0)

So things have changed a bit in the last two weeks. In the beginning, most of the kids in the orphanage had lessons in the morning, and this is when my English classes took place. About three weeks ago two days of testing were then held and after that, all the classes finished. I just happened to decide that it would also be a good time to test the progress of my students, so they all had tests too. This also meant, however, that my students thought English classes were over as well. I told them I was here for another two months and planned on teaching English for that whole time but they paid no attention to me. After a week of feeling really quite worried, upset and useless and being faced with the prospect of working at another orphanage, I concluded that there were still children who wanted to learn English so came up with an alternative plan. I went to them individually, asked them if they were interested in continuing, told them they could say no, and let them choose the day and duration of their classes. Everyone I spoke to were happy to continue; some wanted an hour long lesson four days a week, some for two days a week, and some for just 30 minutes once a week, but the one on one aspect seems to have boosted their enthusiasm and so far it’s going quite well. Sometimes it’s hard to think of things to teach for a whole hour and I’ve had one boy who took his time to come to class on Friday, but I told him, he was the one that chose to work on Friday for an hour, if he didn’t want to come, he didn’t have to, but not to waste my time. Some other children who I hadn’t approached, came to me on their own accord to organise a lesson, which was really lovely, so hopefully this can continue until they start school on the 17th of ...

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English Classes
English Classes

Week 1   (published in Bolivia)

September 22, 2016 by   Comments(1)


I've almost finished my first week here volunteering with Projects Abroad in Cochabamba, Bolivia and it's flown! The first couple of days were really hard; I arrived at 4am Bolivian time and needed to fill out lots of forms in order to enter the country (shout out to my fabby boyfriend who had to text me the address of where I'd be living so that I could actually get in to the country! Sorry Mum) and was quickly shipped into my Bolivian home to sleep. I woke up later to Cochabamba day, a national holiday here which meant that I couldn't have my induction or get my bearings until the following day, as both Jacki, a volunteer I was living with and Emily, an english volunteer who I had spoken to before coming out here were poorly that day. So with nothing to do and no contact with home, I felt quite homesick that day. However the following day I was shown around town by a lovely Volunteer advisor Freddy, with two other volunteers Eimer and Viking, got my phone sorted out and felt much happier. That evening Freddy tried to teach us all how to play a traditional Bolivian recorder but I think I'll stick to my english instruments-we weren't very good!

I had my work induction on the Friday and absolutely loved it. I feel so so so blessed and honoured to be given the opportunity to help such worthy people. I am working as the music teacher for Sayari Warmi, a centre here in Cochabamba that works to rehabilitate and reintroduce young girls victim of sex trafficking and prostitution back to their families and local communities. There are about 15 girls at the centre and they live there for 9 months, before being reintegrated back into their families or moved on to another centre where they work if this is not the best or safest option for them. Most of the girls are aged ...

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Week 1
Week 1

Independence Day and Diving   (published in Belize)

September 22, 2016 by   Comments(1)

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Today is the 35th anniversary of Belize' independence from Great Britain. They are taking their celebration seriously, at least here in Placencia. We have a good time on and around the 4th of July at home, but I think maybe because Belize is so young (in the official sense), Independence Day is still a Big Deal. I'm taking notes. We could use a little of their vivacity.

Last night, the celebrations started with a little music at the pier, but it was pretty quiet after dinner. The real party started around 10 PM at Street Feet, the local night club. I rolled out of bed to watch the midnight fireworks from the kitchen window (yay!), but the rest of town apparently partied all night until they left around 5:30 AM , at which point they had an impromptu parade through town! After a few hours of sleep, the real parade was to convene at the Placencia airstrip maybe 5 km north of the point where Projects Abroad is located. Too hot for me, though. I slept in and was confident it would take several hours for the parade to get down here. The gossip at Dawn's Grill 'n' Go was that the parade would get there at 3ish. That is a long time of parading. We grabbed our swimming gear and cameras just after 3 and started walking north, and sure enough, the parade was approaching the Tipsy Tuna by 3:30. Most of the participants were still managing to dance, too, despite the heat. I jumped in the sea at the next available opportunity. I am guessing the revelers did the same when they reached the pier and the end of the parade route.

Some kind of mini plague has taken out Celso, our conservation manager and dive master; Jon, and me, so our final trip to Little Water Caye has been postponed until Friday. Tomorrow we're going to do some work at the local school, which I am looking forward to ...

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Independence Day and Diving
Independence Day and Diving

Road to Romania: My First Thoughts   (published in Romania)

September 20, 2016 by   Comments(1)

I have a natural state before I am about to experience something new: anxiety. The day before a new school year starts, the night before a big presentation is made, or even on the cusp of branching away from home, I always feel a churning in the pit of my stomach that will not ease. I felt it when I decided not to go to college right after graduation. I felt it when my friends started to leave me behind, and I was wondering if I had made a mistake. I felt it whenever any of my family members inquired about my plans for the next year, why I chose Romania, how I was going to live in a country where I knew no one and could not speak the language, etc. etc. And I especially felt it when I realized that I bargained for more independence than I have ever had in my life. And then I got here. 

I have been in Romania for a grand total of 38 hours now, and to my surprise, I am as relaxed as if I were at home in my own room. I'm not sure when the churning stopped, but I believe it must have been somewhere between brisk walk around the gargantuan Frankfurt airport and my victorious pass through customs in Bucharest. It is still surreal to me, how easy it was to feel at home in a place I had never been before. Then I started to notice things about the country. Driving from the airport to my home stay in Brasov (about 3 hours), I saw how abruptly areas of agriculture and modesty evolved into quaint, thriving towns. The only dynamic that is comparable in my experience is traveling from midtown Memphis to the run-down areas in the south of the city. My driver Alex and I hit it off right away, which was a relief because (a) he spoke English and (b) I hadn't had a conversation with anyone who wasn't an airport official. We talked about music (he had classic rock blaring, so I ...

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Road to Romania: My First Thoughts
Road to Romania: My First Thoughts

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