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Mandela Day goes global   (published in Global News)

July 21, 2014 by   Comments(0)

A big thank you to everyone who participated in making Projects Abroad Mandela Day 2014 a huge success. We are so glad that across the world we could join hands for 67 minutes to celebrate the life of a good man while continuing his legacy. Here are some of our favourite pictures of the day. 

Volunteers in Tanzania did community service at a special needs school

Fiji ...

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Mandela Day goes global
Mandela Day goes global

TRUST ME TRUST ME : We can travel alone.   (published in Tanzania)

July 24, 2014 by   Comments(0)



It was that moment, when Amos got me the warm newly baked mandazi in Moshi, that I said to myself “This is going to be alright.”


Earlier in the crowded clamouring bus station of Arusha, I had been bundled on the already moving 7am bus by a shove from the taxi driver and outstretched hand of the bus conductor.  Not as stately a procedure as mounting a shuttle at leisure, but much more fun.


Seeing life, the bustle of the Arusha community with vegetables and fruit, the little markets, vibrant with movement and  colour, the many stops, the  shouted negotiations, the squashing up,  never fails to thrill . I wonder if colour and bustle is in itself a high?



As I had sat, quite a small figure, in the bus station in Moshi, I had wondered how I would recognise him. There was no problem in recognising me, not only did I have a bright pea green rucksack but I was the only white person there. Mmm…how do you know how and when to trust someone? I was toying with the idea of having  been  abandoned, or worse still, getting picked up by an “up-to-no-good” kind of person and disappearing never to be seen again, when a fit-looking, alert man came towards me, shook hands and took my ruck sack. He was pleasant but not overly friendly.  Amos was the boss of Migration Kili Expeditions, I discovered later. After the mandazi, we set off to Kilimanjaro to meet my guide. As we got higher there was a delightful intake of colder air, coffee bushes and ...

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TRUST ME TRUST ME : We can travel alone.
TRUST ME TRUST ME : We can travel alone.

'BLOOD HAS TO BE SPILLED'   (published in Tanzania)

July 24, 2014 by   Comments(0)



‘Blood has to be spilled.’ says my Kiswahili mwalimu,Victoria Mushi, her eyes glinting as she rounds off her description of miscreant children who do not care for or honour their ageing parents. Amongst the Chagga, whether Christian or Muslim, in order to be forgiven, the adult children have to bring and slaughter a goat at their home village. This act of reparation heals the neglect  experienced  and the sacrifice is a reaffirmation of a code of behaviour, respect for the elders with its origins in Ancestor Worship. The roasted goat also serves the purpose of helping feed the village which may well be living at subsistence level. The sacrifice therefore satisfies many demands.


2014 is a long way from 1965 when I studied Social Anthropology at Cambridge University but sometimes there was a never to be forgotten epiphany, one being that ritual was not empty but had meaning and purpose:  it holds the fabric of a society together by collectively enacting and re-enacting the beliefs and customs of that tribe.  It establishes a strong identity in the individual and group which has pride in its customs.


Female circumcision ,now referred to as female genital mutilation ,is very much in the international news at the moment. Tanzania is addressing this subjugation of women and the harm done. But this is not easy. The Tanzanian women and men I have spoken to are articulate with high consciousness and deep analysis and understanding. It has been banned but still goes on and is encouraged by men and perpetuated by women who perform the operation. The banning is virulently opposed by ...

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Update 6: Q&A   (published in Tanzania)

July 24, 2014 by   Comments(0)

Hey guys. Sorry about the delays in updating. I'm doing fine, it's just been a really weird week and, for some reason, everyone's wifi seems to be down. I finally borrowed some from a colleague to upload this quick. 

Since I'm leaving for safari early tomorrow morning, I'm pretty busy getting all of my ducks in a row. I know this is a bit cliche, but it is the halfway point of my trip. Instead of a full update today, I'm putting out a Q&A. I'm sure there is a lot you guys want to know about that I haven't been covering well, so feel free to ask away. On Monday, I will resume my twice weekly updates, including the past week as well, but I'll do an extra one mid-week too to answer any questions you send my way. 

I hope ops my cop out doesnt ruffle too many feathers. Hope you all are doing well, and I look forward to Monday!

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Update 6: Q&A
Update 6: Q&A

The Kava King - Day Twenty-Four   (published in Fiji)

July 24, 2014 by   Comments(0)

This morning, the weather being fine, I hit the bitumen at 6.15am for a jog down to the Arts  Village, returning for breakfast and catching up on some texts from Melbourne which had arrived overnight.

Today was 'Community Day' and we were all bundled into a bus to journey to one of the villages, Deuba, named after the Deuba River, which it fronted.

The mighty Deuba River at low tide.

The aim of the exercise was to explore by means of survey, the contact and attitudes of the local villagers to sharks and their role. The day was by means of survey and we were split into groups, each with a local interpreter. Our assigned villager was a young villager called Mackli who was studying architecture.

The mural in the Deuba community Hall

Mackli took us into homes of the villagers where we sat and talked with them about sharks and our project. One of the homes was called Melbourne and the matriarch was most pleased that she had a visitor that her home was named after. The homes were very spartan but the welcome was always very rich and it was reassuring that we were appreciated notwithstanding the fact of our obvious intrusion.

The house called Melbourne.

After we completed our interviews, we then trapsed back to the community hall, along the river, startling a mongoose who had obviously been fishing. Then, after stopping for a refreshing fresh coconut, it was then for a traditional lunch prepared by the village women.

After lunch was when I realised the advantage/disadvantage of being the oldest visiting volunteer, when I realised that the village men were waiting for me before they commenced their Kava Ceremony. As the first, I was offered always a full cup and expected to commence every round. (I will sleep well tonight.)

My ...

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The Kava King - Day Twenty-Four
The Kava King - Day Twenty-Four

Redeeming my failed little blog   (published in Costa Rica)

July 23, 2014 by   Comments(1)

Many excuses have been lined up in my head for my failure of a blog. Being too tired, not having enough time, not having internet access are only a few of them. So as a feeble comprimise I'm going to write my blog once I get back home. Sounds silly I know but it's better than nothing, right?.. Anyway that's the way it's going to be. Many things have happened since arriving in Costa Rica, and starting the 4th of august I will share everything, day by day, as if it were live.

Thank you Mary, if you've been checking for updates, and if the salad dressing is too bitter you can add a teaspoon of sugar!

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Redeeming my failed little blog
Redeeming my failed little blog

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