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TARICAYA RESEARCH CENTRE : JULY 2010   (published in Peru)

August 16, 2010 by   Comments(0)

            It seems that every month when I start writing these reports I begin by commenting on how much we have achieved at Taricaya but, if it is possible, then July has been one of our most productive months ever here in the Peruvian rainforest. With the lodge bursting at its seams and everybody keen to get stuck in it has been an amazing few weeks. We have discovered many new species for the reserve; collected the first turtle nests; cleared kilometres of trails; cleaned up the farm project; visited Palma Real; built a new cage for the short-eared dogs and been treated to some fantastic sightings on the trails. This, along with the day to day running and maintenance of the project, has kept everybody busy and in high spirits that not even an eight day cold spell when temperatures dropped to just 8°C could slow the momentum. So, where to begin....?

            After close to nine years of research since the conception of Taricaya it has become more and more difficult to discover new species in the reserve but this month we were visited by two friends, one old and one new, to help our biodiversity studies. Cesar Medina is another graduate from Arequipa University with ties to the second largest natural history museum in Peru (UNASA) and he joined us in the second two weeks of July to perform our first ever investigation into small mammals in the reserve. Cesar’s speciality is Rodents and Marsupials and with the aid of several different trapping systems he set out to create an inventory of these elusive little animals. Volunteers were quickly caught up in his enthusiasm as we set and checked traps for the duration of his stay. The project relied on ...

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Snowlands post-exam 'Week of Fun'!!!   (published in Nepal)

August 16, 2010 by   Comments(0)

The past week has been a busy one for all the children and volunteers at Snowlands Ranag School, Kathmandu! Volunteer Elizabeth Hernandez, has done an amazing job of organising a ‘Week of Fun’ for all 161 kids after they finished their exams last week…She began her fundraising by asking various volunteers who had visited the school to donate whatever they could to the fund. Some very generous donations meant that Elizabeth and all the other volunteers at the school were able to take the kids on their choice of activity. In the end, there were groups of children at 3 movies, 2 days of swimming and a day at the zoo! Most of the children had never done these activities before so it was an extra special treat for them…Scared swimmers turned in to water babies by the end of the day; there was excitement at the zoo when the tigers were spotted and laughs and tears and the Bollywood and Nepali films that were shown. The week was rounded off with a party at the school- water balloon fights, musical chairs and a mass momo making class were a just a few of the activities happening that day. Back to class today and it is results day so we all have our fingers crossed that today holds just as much excitement for the kids as this week has!




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Snowlands post-exam 'Week of Fun'!!!
Snowlands post-exam 'Week of Fun'!!!

One day to go!   (published in Mongolia)

August 15, 2010 by   Comments(0)

So tomorrow is take off day and I'm slowly getting ready to go. Working on what to pack, what I'm missing, etc. I've gotten my last needle but do have one more Dukoral to take (am a little late on that, but better late than never... also, see my blog post on the vile substance and my opinion on immunizations and travel).


I've gotten some neat travel gear from Think Geek and have written a piece on it for Generation Go. I love their stuff and it's really handy, like their dissolving toiletries.


I'm really excited about the trip. Soon I'll be taking a little shopping trip to get a few remaining things, than I'll pack. And by tomorrow night I'll be on my first plane!


Hang on a little longer to see posts and pictures about my adventure!

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One day to go!
One day to go!

My summer in Argentina by Ashley Maxon   (published in Argentina)

August 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)

This summer has been the making of countless unforgettable memories: travelling; working at the hospital; meeting new friends; experiences of a lifetime. 

Travelling has been the best part of my summer in Argentina.  A huge group of us volunteers went to Mendoza at the end of May and the country was absolutely amazing!  The landscape is picturesque with mountains in the background and vineyards adding to the scenery.  The city of Mendoza is still quite large, but is on a much slower pace than Cordoba and people actually obey the road signs when driving.  We toured the vineyards on bikes, sampled the wines from multiple places, went horseback riding for an entire afternoon near the mountains, and went white water rafting in the glacier waters in the Andes Mountains.  We were able to stay at a really cheap hostel that seemed like another home, the people of Argentina are so friendly. The first weekend in June a smaller group of us went to Iguazu Falls, the most popular waterfalls in Argentina located in the subtropical rainforest near the Brazil/Uruguay border.  We took a tour through the jungle and took a boat up rapids and under the actual falls.  It’s crazy looking back at it, but definitely something to do once in a lifetime.  We also went hiking, canopying, and rappelling during our time there.  Just getting out of the city is money well spent.  Our travels might have seemed like a good amount of pesos, but when converted to dollars, the price was next to nothing. 

The first weekend here I was able to participate in the Dirty Weekend, a weekend where volunteers help out in the community by doing whatever projects come up that people need help with.  We went to a suburb of Cordoba and ...

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My summer in Argentina by Ashley Maxon
My summer in Argentina by Ashley Maxon

Erdene Zuu Monastery   (published in Mongolia)

August 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)

The Erdene Zuu Monastery (Mongolian: Эрдэнэ Зуу) is probably the most ancient surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. It is in uvurkhangai Province, near the town of Kharkhorin and adjacent to the ancient city of Karakorum. It is part of the World Heritage Site entitled Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. The Erdene Zuu monastery was built in 1585 by Abtai Sain Khan upon the (second) introduction of Tibetan Buddhism into Mongolia. Stones from the ruins of Karakorum were used in construction . It is surrounded by a wall featuring 102 stupas. The number 108, being a sacred number in Buddhismand the number of beads in a Buddhist rosary, was probably envisioned, but never achieve. The monastery temples' wall were painted, and the Chinese-style roof was covered with green tiles. The monastery was damaged by warfare in the 1680s, but was rebuilt in the 18th century and by 1872 had a full 62 temples inside.In 1939 the Communist leader Khorloogiin Choibalsan had the monastery ruined, as part of a purge that obliterated hundreds of monasteries in Mongolia and killed over ten thousand monks.Three small temples and the external wall with the stupas remained; the temples became museums in 1947. They say that this part of the monastery was spared destruction on account of Joseph Stalin's pressure. One researcher claims that Stalin's pressure was connected to the short visit of US vice president Henry A. Wallace's delegation to Mongolia in 1944.Erdene Zuu was allowed to exist as a museum only; the only functioning monastery in Mongolia was Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. However, after the fall of Communism in Mongolia in 1990, the monastery was turned over to the lamas and Erdene Zuu again became a place of worship. Today Erdene Zuu remains an ...
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Erdene Zuu Monastery
Erdene Zuu Monastery

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