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Settling In   (published in Togo)

August 25, 2016 by   Comments(1)

It’s been a week since I arrived and the cravings have kicked in. Coming from daily crepes and gelato twice a day, to a diet almost completely devoid of sugar, has finally hit me. While I quite enjoy the African food I’m served every lunch and dinner, I feel my body starting to reject it and cry out for something sweet and Western. I sincerely hope this will pass, but for now I’m on the look out for something relatively healthy to satisfy my cravings.

In other news, I’ve settled in to the orphanage and have started to pick up on things that could be improved. While it is very well run, I have noticed that the girls don’t really speak or learn English. I asked the others why this is and they said it’s because they don’t want to but I don’t know how much of that I believe. Despite coming from a single-sex school that valued women’s education and progression above all else, I was surprised by the unease I felt when I realised the girls’ learning was not as highly valued or encouraged as the boys. So I told the Director I wanted to start an English class for the girls and, to his credit, he went to find them straight away and alas, my girls’ class was formed. They’re not nearly as serious as the boys and laughed and carried on but hopefully I can convey to them how important it is to learn English.

The younger ones (8 to 10) also showed an interest in learning English so I have established a time with them for English classes. I now have an English class every morning of the week, and on Thursdays I have two. I’m also hoping I’ll be able to establish a makeshift Geography class for all ages once I receive a world map.

I feel I spend a lot of the time sitting and listening, which is ...

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Settling In
Settling In

Manglende kufferter og flade bagdele - hjemturen   (published in Samoa)

August 22, 2016 by   Comments(0)

Nu er vi landet i Amsterdam lufthavn. Vi har sammenlang tilbragt 30 timer i luften! Ikke noget at sige til at vi er ved at være trætte af den siddende stilling. Heldigvis er turene gået godt, og kun med en smule turbulens undervejs.  

Vores eneste udfordring var dog da vi efter lang tids venten på vores kufferter i Sydney stod tilbage som de sidste uden at have set skyggen af kufferterne før båndet pludselig stoppede med at køre. Shit, panikken havde nær bredt sig! Men efter snakken med flere medarbejdere dernede, finder vi ud af at vores kufferter helt ufarligt allerede var på vej over i det næste fly videre mod Abu Dhabi, som vi blot ikke var blevet informeret om ved check-in. Puha, de var altså ikke gået i stykker undervejs (det skal lige siges at Pernilles kuffert måtte tapes, da det ene hjul gik i stykker på vej til Samoa) eller blevet stjålet! Ro i maven igen! 

Nu venter turen hjem mod Danmark. 

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Manglende kufferter og flade bagdele - hjemturen
Manglende kufferter og flade bagdele - hjemturen

15 sleeps to go!   (published in Fiji)

August 22, 2016 by   Comments(1)

Oh my is it really only 15 sleeps to go?? Well I'm packed! My children can't believe I have packed already, however there is method behind my madness and that is the dreadful weather over here on the Isle of Man at the moment.  Like lots of woman    I' m sure, I have a Summer & Winter wardrobe!! So I've sorted out my Summer one - charity, Fiji or under the bed (2nd wardrobe!). Now I have a case floating around my bedroom all ready to go and a wardrobe ready for the Isle of Man Winter when I get back!  However there is only one problem, my case is full & I've yet to go through my resources in the garage, so inevitably I will unpack & repack again!  Just need a window of opportunity with no rain so that I can get stuff out of the garage onto the drive! Easy you say but as it's Manx Grand Prix  we are bound for endless rain!!

Projects Abroad UK have tweeted me a great link to packing and there were a few things I had missed so I'm glad I've got that resource.

Going to make the most of my last few days spending time with the family and no doubt writing endless lists and trying hard not to get in a blind panic over everything.

Really excited about my trip in my own 'Laura' way.  For those of you who know me really well I don't show great excitement over anything but just calmly get on with it.  Will be happy once the flights are over and I set foot on Fijian land, how exciting!!!!

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15 sleeps to go!
15 sleeps to go!

Vietnam - the final placement blog   (published in Vietnam)

August 22, 2016 by   Comments(0)

The last week at Thuy An was challenging for all of us volunteers. It's hard to commit to the project enough to care, but not get over-involved emotionally, leaving ourselves (and the children) in bits when we leave. I've coped by hitting the database and tidying it up (frustrated ex-librarian persona made a re-appearance). It also helps that some of the volunteers will be staying on for a few more weeks, so we have a chance for some kind of hand-over and the children get some continuity.

I've bought some examples of the handicrafts made at the hospital - they try to equip the children/adults with some way of earning a living in the outside world. This lady has been at the hospital for 40 years ....

 Having bid a fond farewell to Thuy An, I've done a bit more exploring in Hanoi, including a visit to the museum of the Hoa Lo prison, sarcastically nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by American prisoners of war. That was quite a chilling experience, and my first sight of a guillotine, which was in use as recently as the 1950's, plus photographs of the results of using same.

Through one of my university lecturers I was put in touch with a couple of the senior staff at Viet Duc hospital, the main surgical hospital in Hanoi if not the whole of Vietnam. "Proper" hospitals in Vietnam are few and far between: if you are taken ill or have an accident in a rural area, you are, basically, stuffed. I had a very interesting morning being shown around the hospital, including the A&E department, and their flagship organ transplant ward. I attach a photo, partly to show the relative sizes of the Vietnamese people - I look ENORMOUS!!

My only ambition as a tourist was to see the famous Ha Long Bay, so I booked a 2 day trip (one night to be spent on a junk in the bay). It ...

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Vietnam - the final placement blog
Vietnam - the final placement blog

LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN   (published in Samoa)

August 22, 2016 by   Comments(0)

, ,

Hi all!

AND THE COUNTDOWN IS ON! Flying out in 12 days for a 2 week Nutrition Internship to the ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL island of Samoa! OH. MY. WORD. So looking forward to meeting the Project Abroad Team, the other volunteers and doing our bit to help out and make a difference!

Can scarce believe time is flying so fast ...

Busy rushing aorund with last minute prep and trying NOT to freak out about not overpacking, loosing my passport, or missing my flight  .... :O

Which are 3 of the 100 items on the list of "Things Not To Freak Out About"  ... haha.

Well, Tofa for now :)


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