So.. A few people have told me to keep a blog, as I wont get Facebook access in China and weirdly people are actually interested in what I shall get up to!
Currently it is seven past three and I am sat up recovering from illness, having stolen my brother's laptop (don't worry, he's away on a trip to Africa.). I have no idea why I'm not asleep yet, I am yet again excitedly devouring China guide books and websites and looking up domestic flights and trains and deciding if I can afford to visit various wonderful places (before you ask.. Seeing the Great Wall and Forbidden City is a must. I wont even bother mentioning those. It'd be like me going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids.) such as:
Although given I will be surviving on my saved up waitressing funds of the last 4 months I more-than-likely will have to mostly travel within Sichuan province. To be fair, it isn't that much of a sacrifice, there are such amazing things there, like:
That's all I have for now, I'll attach some pictures of the places I mentioned. Also, learning Chinese is HARD. I am seriously not a fan.. I can't associate the language with anything I've ever learnt before (completely new and different!) so I'm finding it hard to remember. My teacher told me about the Dragon Boat Festival that will take place whilst I'm in China, apparently it is to commemorate the heroic/patriotic death of a very renowned poet of old times. Locals throw festive rice cakes into Chinese rivers and race Dragon Boats (hence the name, haha) in order to stop fishes from disturbing his sleeping corpse. It sounds a bit morbid, I know haha.
Also I learnt an interesting Chinese idiom: "don't draw a foot on the snake". It means.. Don't add to something that's already perfect. (:
I better get some sleep, tomorrow I intend to brush up on Chinese history and current affairs..
I AM SO EXCITED!!!!
- Hadia ^^
Danxia - Beautiful coloured sand mountains
Giant Buddha statue in Leshan
Teahouse in Chengdu
Shanghai beach and skyline
We had a good day of work at the office in Projects Abroad Mexico. The first part of the Care & Teaching workshop took place last Friday!
Prof. Consuelo Velasco held the workshop and gave some useful tips to care and teaching volunteers. A continuation of it will happen some time really soon. Any tip given by a professional of education is really helpful!
Thank you to all the volunteers who attended and thank you to Consuelo!
See you in the next one!
It is always such a great feeling to know that our work in the different placement creates a good lasting impact.
Projects Abroad Mexico received a recognition from 'Puente de los Ninos'. They were saying 'thank you' to Projects Abroad Mexico staff due to the arrangement of the Day of the Children with the kids from this orphanage. As you might have read before, volunteers and staff made this happen last week.
Of course this recognition goes to all the volunteers that helped this event to take place, we all made this possible.
For us is such a great thing to receive as it is amazing to know we are creating a good impact.
A big Thank you to the volunteers involved and also to Puente de los Ninos for letting us have this great experience.
My two month placement at Cuidad Guzman has flown by and it seems like only yesterday that Candy and Francisco were welcoming me - as they have many previous Projects Abroad volunteers - and helping me to feel at home.
From the start Francisco took me with him as he covered various events in his capacity as journalist and photographer. Mostly I had no idea where I was going and only the vaguest notion of what was going on but I got to meet lots of people who overwhelmed me with their hospitality. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a lecture on the role of women in Mexican society, a policy speech at the University, a sculpture exhibition and a women's breakfast for International Women's Day.
Initially I was asked to take two one hour Conversation Club sessions but I felt that I would like to do more. My supervisor accepted my offer and I was able to assist her and one of the other teachers in their English classes as well.
The Conversation Club was more relaxed as it was an option and not at all compulsory with no credits accrued for attendance. The students came from different courses - Tourism, Psychology, International and Agri Business and Medicine. The number of attendees varied according to the pressures of assignments and exams but there was a steady core who would be there three or four times a week. The genuine openness and friendliness of the students made my task an easy one.
I mainly used the similarities and differences between life in Australia and Mexico as a focus. After giving the Australian perspective of some topic I then had the students tell me, in English, how it was for them in Mexico. Some of the topics covered were Family and Celebrations, Fashion, Sport, Vacations and Heroes. One of the liveliest discussions was having them tell me, again in English, about traditional Mexican dishes. Working out the names of the ingredients and how to describe the process for making these dishes was quite hilarious with many side tracks to Translators and Dictionaries. Added to that was the fact that the students came from different places and had their own variations for each dish.
Each student also presented a talk on any subject they were interested in. The size of the group made it more comfortable for the more shy ones to speak. It also gave me the opportunity to note any possible errors in pronunciation or grammar that could be informally incorporated into a following session. The topics ranged from Japanese anima to Mariachi music, to modern inventions, a family industry and of course, one on what a great city Guadalajara is.
Being in Cuidad Guzman has given me the opportunity to visit other places such as Barra de Navidad, Colima, Tapalpa and Guanajuato. Mexico is truly an exciting country. I have been able to experience some of the indigenous culture by attending events in Tuxpan. Perhaps the highlight of all that I have experienced would have to be being able to see first hand the devotion of the people during Semana Santa, Holy Week, and to take part in the Via Crucis.
I have some wonderful memories of the places and people of Cuidad Guzman, Jalisco and Mexico. They will alway remain a part of me.
Gracias y Viva Mexico!
Akwaaba means welcome, and I must say, since landing I have felt nothing but. From the moment I touched down, I was greeted at the Kotoka Intl airport by two unforgettable entities, the moist heat and many joyful Ghanaians! I'm beginning to feel so at home here in Accra. It's beautiful. The climate is just about bearable and the people I've met so far have been real cool. This is definitely the start of something new-that I'll always remember and treasure! I mean, I'm totally in love with this country already. I arrived on saturday afternoon, this was great because it gave me the chance to familiarise myself with my current setting, the neighbourhood, transport systems such as; pick-up taxi's, drop taxis's and the tro- tros (mini vans that act as buses). Now, the climate is very overwhelming, in saying that, its what my skin needs at present. The general temperature is around 33-35 degrees celsius! Just so you know, my tan is banging!! My host family consists mainly of children, there's so many of them. This is a good thing, because children are so full of life, always happy, always questioning and, always there! The other members include; Ms Veronika whose my host mother, and her twin daughters Jennifer and Jane. Jennifer still lives at home, so I tend to see a lot more of her than Jane, whose married with a little boy, living about 45 minutes away. The reason for my trip is to complete an internship at Radio XYZ, as a news editor. I will be spending a couple of months in the capital, Accra, and will certainly visit other cities on weekends and days off.
Radio XYZ is a news focused radio station, a cross between LBC and Capital FM, in the UK. It's a popular radio station here in Accra, alongside famous names such as; JoyFM and CitiFM. Radio XYZ's USP is the fact that although it is heavily focused on national and international news, entertainment news, African news and sports. It is also very versatile with its genres of music. For example; the XYZ breakfast will have discussions on politics, relationships and current affairs whereby the sounds would range from; Luther Vandross to Keisha Cole. The mid-morning show will hear Desmond keeping things relaxed on the airways showcasing country music from various southern states in the US. The culture here in Ghana is so laid back, unlike London, it's very seldom to notice people hustling and bustling to get from A to B. If an event is scheduled to commence at 11am there's a 80% chance that it won't kick off until about 2pm. For instance, I took a trip to the Ghanaian Houses of Parliament on the 27th March, it was the last day that the MPs were meeting for the next couple of months, so there were loads of agreements and topics that needed to be concluded. Can you believe, I arrived, sat in the press area of Parliament at 10:55 and the talks did not begin until 3pm!! Ghanaian time is unusual, its different, it's worse than the typical 'black mans time'. I mean, its just Ghanaian time really, meaning that there's no real time set, it kinda happens when it happens. Honestly, this visit to West Africa was well over-due, having been so caught up with my western lifestyle, I was beginning to forget my homeland and what life is really like in a 'semi-developing' country. It's not all how the media portray it to be- Ghana is gradually developing and becoming more modernised, with western style flats and apartments being build within inner city areas. It is the real deal Africa of course, gutters are visible along the road sides- these have extremely high and revolting scents. Mothers carry their children tied on their backs with heavy loads on top of their heads. I have been subjected to it all. The money and the lack of it! I've been taken to some plush hotels and fancy restaurants and to be honest, I was amazed at what I was seeing here in Ghana. For example, on my second day I was taken to Movenpick Ambassadors 7* Hotel, this was where Obama stayed when he visited Ghana. This hotel was fancy to the core, filled with westerners and those alike, enjoying the company of friends and family and sunday-brunch in the swelting heat, being served by waiters whose attire of blue knee-length shorts and roller blades was quite unique. The Ghanaian culture is somewhat of the sort that I'm used to, the loud speaking, communal gatherings and social interactions.
The dominate faith of Christianity is evident from the names of their businesses to the slogans on vehicles-75% of shops and businesses make reference to God in one way or the other. For example; while on the tro-tro to Circle, I passed a number of shops where the names stood out amongst all other things. I jotted down a few just to feature in this blog. Psalms 91 fast food and I am blessed health clinic are just two of the Christianity-centred, Ghanaian businesses, here in Accra. In comparison to China, you rarely find people smoking on the streets, it's clear that smoking is highly frowned upon, especially in public settings. Most of the young girls, (school-attendees) have their hair shaved off, it is said that by doing this, their hair tends to grow faster and longer as and when specific treatments are applied. Emmanuela, a Ghanaian girl who is one of the children here said that to have hair as a girl-school is not permitted.
I'm very much looking to what the Lord has planned for my trip to Ghana, I have been longing to come to this part of Africa for the longest time and I'm glad to say that I'm #INTHEPLACE.
Follow me @misshanl
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After a lovely weekend spent at my hometown, I decided I could write about it. Afterall, apart from being that little town I'm used to, it is a cute green city founded on a gorgeous natural site, 30 minutes close to Rabat!
A friend of mine from Casablanca got tired of the big metropolis, and decided she could come and visit me in Kenitra, 30 minutes away by train from Rabat. I said yes why not! Let us meet here and enjoy my hometown and current city!
Kenitra was founded in 1912 by marreshal Lyautey, and was the floor for an American military base for decades. Founded in a perfect natural site, Kenitra is bordered on the west by a river, and surrounded from all sides by a green belt; the natural reserve of Sidi Boughaba and its natural lake, Mehdia beach connected to it, an oak forest and a eucalyptus forest on the ways to Rabat and to fez. Kenitra has been the town of chalets, cottages, Haussmanian buildings and 70s' cubic villas, and is now quickly changing. More and more new buildings are replacing the lovely neighbourhoods famous in the past for their green alleys and gardens and their typical architecture like quartier Mimosa and Valle-Fleury. However, for the visitor who has no notslagia of 10 years-ago-Kenitra, the town still has a captivating charm: very large avenues and streets aligned with old trees give the visitor a nice sense of emptiness and calm.
However, although you can enjoy downtown on your feet, it is better to have a car to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the city: the forests and lake, and the typical village of Mehdia, 12 kilometers away, already offer you a touch of Northern cities, and a pure environment where you can renew your oxygen. Mehdia beach is also famous all over the country for being the cradle of Surfing in Morocco. There are surf schools and camps where you can rent a board or get a lesson.The port of Mehdia offers a wide variety of fish and seafood, and there are places where you can have fried or grilled fish for a fresh lunch.
The natural reserve and its lake is a stopover where migrating birds gather in the winter, and it is ideal for picnics and walks.
You can also stay in Kenitra and have a walk on the river's cornice and have a drink at one of its coffee shops. A beautiful view of the old port "Port Lyautey".
Well, this is my hometown and current city, and you are welcome anytime!
Also, if you've come across a little town like Kenitra, share with us your stories and trip photos. There is more to Morocco than its beautiful world famous cities, so enjoy it as much as you can, and happy volunteering!
I wish there already wasn't the phrase "sour milk" in English. Though airag (fermented mare's milk) is sour, it is more in the sense of vinegar being sour than spoilt milk. Maybe this is just my opinion, but I really enjoyed it! I was able to try it for my first time at Nadaam, at Ariuna's home. She and her family were so kind and lovely, and her little 6 year old sister, Ano was so cute and funny! I was able to eat so much delicious food her mother cooked, as well as having a tour of the Genshin temple, which hosts a giant golden Buddha within it.
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