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We zijn nu twee weken op reis door Ecuador. We genieten enorm van dit prachtige land met vriendelijke gastvrije mensen. Het wonen, werken en genieten op de Galapagos lijkt alweer een aardig tijdje geleden.
De eerste twee dagen op het vaste land van Ecuador hebben we doorgebracht in het oude deel van de stad Quito. De hoogte was wel even wennen. Met name Tanne en Manou hadden wel wat last van hoogteziekte. Gelukkig werd dit minder en konden we met gerust hart naar de Cotapaxi (5897 m): een van de hoogste vulkanen van het Andesgebergte. Erg gaaf. Vanwege de stevige wind, regen, kou en mist zijn we niet naar de berghut op 4800 meter gelopen. We zijn op 4600 meter met de mountainbike naar beneden 'geracet'. Erg stoer en koud .... De natuur en met name de bergen / vulkanen zijn overweldigend. Fantastische uitzichten, mooie meertjes en een geweldige Haciënda voor de overnachtingen. Wat willen we nog meer...
De jungle Een bezoek aan de Amazone mocht niet ontbreken. We hebben drie dagen / twee nachten doorgebracht in de jungle. Onder leiding van een gids hebben we door de jungle gestruind en vele insecten, bijzondere planten en dieren gezien. Ook zijn we op de 'koffie' geweest bij de Kichwastam en hebben een nachtwandeling gemaakt. David en Manou hadden het verblijf in de jungle graag verlengd. Voor de meiden was het lang genoeg. Die wilden graag naar de stad Banos. Waar een prachtig verblijf in een hosteria met luxe zwembaden en thermaal baden met massage mogelijkheden op hen wachtte.
In Banos hebben we een tour gemaakt langs de vele watervallen die dit gebied rijk is. Super. Het meest indrukwekkende was de woeste waterval 'Pailon del Diablo'. We hebben 'm van boven, van onder en van 'achteren' bewonderd. Tijdens de tour was het triest om te zien hoeveel bomen er gekapt ...
Our adventure has started, after a bit of an emotional goodbye, we are through security and both very excited to get on the plane!! We just received a phone call from Gishan (our placement organiser) to check we are at the airport and all okay, and so the reality has started to sink in!
I will blog again once we are there, when we find the nearest wifi point to let you all know how we are getting on!
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Sending love to all our lovely friends and family x
Before coming to Saint-Louis I was put in touch with some members of a church here. I've been going to 'Eglise Evangelique' since I arrived, not including the weeks I went on trips. I've been made to feel so welcome and it's been amazing to be part of a Christian community here. Today I met a group of young people from America & Canada who will be helping out at the kids camp that they're running over the next two weeks. We had a delicious meal after church to welcome them.
The church does so much in the community. It runs a three year training course for girls where they learn to cook, make clothes, keep a budget and have French lessons in order to help them get a job. It also has a small GP and pharmacy set up, allowing the local population of Pikine easy access to healthcare. The church also welcomes the talibé once a month, giving them food, healthcare and allowing them to use their showers. The church is also going to be opening a centre for boys (older talibé) where they'll give them practical training in a vocation, such as being an electrician. Local people teach in the schools, as well as some lovely American missionaries. Throughout all these activities, they aim to let people know about their faith and Jesus. For example, the girls are taught bible stories in the morning before school. The minister's wife told me that they're not offended by it but are quite interested in learning what we believe. It's a pretty amazing church and I'm looking forward to learning more from the other members!
Had a family day out on Saturday. Went to Mother's sister's appartment, had lunch and then five adults. three children, one car no seat belts and off into the country! It's green outside the city!! Cows, horses, goats, sheep - but still no yak, very disapointed. : (
Roads in the city are bad, in the country it's more of a pot hole with the occasional stretch of road, good job I don't get sea sick, lots of up and down.
What a difference - wide open spaces, rolling hills and mountains and lots of sky, not many people.
Visited a statue of Genghis Khaan, only about 130 metres tall, yes 130 metres - tallest horse statue in the world. Made of stainless steel sat surveying the country. Had my photo taken with one of the locals - a vulture, boy was he heavy and with as much hair as me it's difficult to tell us apart.
Inside the statue is a museum, the largest Mongolian boot in the world, actually made of hand crafted leather and a 4metre long horse whip, apparently this is where Genghis found a horse whip, good luck, and started his empire. Then up the 130 metres to the horses head and an amazing view of the countryside. Plenty of pictures taken some just of the blue sky and clouds, fantastic.
That done and back downstairs for our photos taken in traditional Mongolian dress, some of us would not have cut it as part of the Mongol horde! But the ladies and children look fantastic.
On the way back we stopped at a roadside cafe, well a tent in the middle of nowhere, for araag (that's horse milk) very sour, but the family loved it, and horse meat and onions. Actually the horse meat was very tasty, could get used to that.
Was a long day, nowhere is near in Mongolia. Had a real mix of weather, sunny and hot when we set off, n the way back we had rain and hail, a good 6mm ...
My first week in Cambodia has passed and so far I have enjoyed every minute. However the trip to start didnt go as planned as I had only arrived 2hours and ended up in a cambodian clinic after slipping in the shower and badly hurting my foot, so advice to all future volunteers, just be careful, the showers are slippy... a heads up for yous ;). But now I am sitting in Siem Reap pre[aring for the 6 hour bus journey back to Phnom Penh city after a brilliant weekend break to see the Ankgor Wat and the sights of Siem Reap. Our hotel was OKAY VILLA and it is great, we have a roof top pool which we havent left all morning. Its been great to get out of the city for a while but its time to go back to return to the apartments and my placement :)
Home of Love is where I am based and I couldnt be more happy about this placement. The age range of children is from 5months to 4 years old and its so amazing when they run into your arms every morning wanting to be cuddled and carried around. On my first day I bought a bag of goodies, such as bubbles and colouring books which I had bought back in Belfast. The excitement that had came over their faces, it was exactly like a christmas morning. Many children picked something they liked and just carried it around with them not wanting to let it go, one boy carried his book around for 2 hours, hugging it and looking at alll the pictures. Before I arrived I had no idea how to change a nappy, now I can say I am a pro at it. All of the babies are so gorgeous and always similing, its great to see them laughing because they loved to be tickled and love playing peek a boo. I like to spend time with a boy who has CP, the smile on his face when you play peek a boo with a toy almost had me in tears, its great to give them so much attention but its ...