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Saree Fever!!   (published in Fiji)

August 10, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Indian weddings are a big, sparkly, long and joyful process.  Unlike the weddings of Europe and North America which last an afternoon, maybe and evening, sometimes perhaps fill an entire day, Indian weddings continue for up to a week! A full seven days of rituals, celebration, honor, family and friends.  Up to five or six hundred people might attend one or many days of such a wedding: each guest is greeted, each guest is fed and each guest turns up in their best Sunday clothes!

Before plans for the wedding even start being thought of however, there are a number of other events which the couple must complete.  The first of which is a ceremony during which the family of the groom visits the family of the bride and offer elaborate gifts and presents.  These are to signify the groom's family's ability to care for, dress and feed the bride, should she be allowed to join his family. 

These gifts usually include a saree – the traditional Indian dress – jewellery, homemade traditional Indian sweets and cash.

If the bride's family accepts these gifts, the girl is, from that moment, considered part of the boy's family.  In return the bride's family also presents the groom with (slightly less elaborate) gifts. 

One of our host family’s sons, Riki, has recently gotten engaged to his sweetheart, Shazi, and their proposal ceremony was last Saturday.  The two volunteers who are currently living with the Ram family and myself were all invited to the ceremony… one of the requirements for going however was that Coline and I both wear sarees and dress up properly!  I had no problem with this at all… J Maxime got away with wearing a simple Indian style shirt.

On the day I went to the Ram house and ...

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Saree Fever!!
Saree Fever!!

Dia del Niño Donation   (published in Argentina)

August 9, 2010 by   Comments(0)

This week, Argentina celebrated Dia del Niño (children’s day). This popular holiday celebrated throughout the world is simply a day to celebrate and honor the children in our lives. In Argentina, the holiday is celebrated much like Mother’s or Father’s day. Children receive presents from their parents just for being, well, kids! Lucky them!

All over Argentina events are organized making this day a special treat: Muppet shows, games, cultural programs, concerts, special TV programs and family gatherings.


Projects Abroad also thought of all the kids who aren’t as lucky and asked each volunteer present to participate in a donation of presents. Gaston, a close friend of mine had already organized a joint donation with fellow friends so we decided to join in.

On Saturday August 7th, while I was busy helping out at an orphanage with Projects Abroad volunteers, Gaston led a group to take all the presents and clothes he had been able to gather to the Children’s Hospital of Cordoba and distribute them there. We also decided to donate some board games to poor families in Unquillo, a town located close to Cordoba.


I would like to thank Gaston for putting his heart into this project and to Projects Abroad volunteers for participating in the donation. Let us hope that this small gesture made the difference for some kids and made them feel part of this special day.


Feliz Dia del Niño Argentina!

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Dia del Niño Donation
Dia del Niño Donation

2-Week Specials at Children's Home of Hope   (published in Ghana)

August 9, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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The beginning of August kicked off with our last group of 2-week specials of the year.  18 young men and women from all over the world came together in Cape Coast to paint the inside and outside of Children’s Home of Hope Orphanage. 

By painting in the morning and caring for the children in the afternoon, everyone got a really fulfilling volunteer experience.  The orphanage is located in Aseibu, a village just outside of Cape Coast.  There are 18 children who live at Children’s Home of Hope and many more children in the community.  The orphanage serves as a community center for these children, and from day to day, there can be anywhere from 20 – 40 children hanging about.  The volunteers played football, blew bubbles, and did educational games with everyone and the kids were naturally delighted. 

On the weekend, the volunteers got to experience some of the culture Cape Coast has to offer.  They toured the Cape Coast Castle, did the canopy walk at Kakum National Park, and had a relaxing afternoon by the pool at Coconut Grove Beach Resort. At dinner on Saturday night, they were treated to a drumming concert and even learned some African dancing.  All in all, everyone had a fun cultural experience, and felt relaxed and restored for their last week of painting and care work. 

By Jenny Shulman

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2-Week Specials at Children's Home of Hope
2-Week Specials at Children's Home of Hope

Rocky Mountain High   (published in South Africa)

August 9, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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Saturday July 31, 2010  

   It was another freezing cold morning when we gathered around the communal kitchen at 7 am for breakfast and coffee.  Breakfast times at camp are a lively affair now that there are so many people at staying with us, and there is always a lot of laughter about all sorts of things.  This morning it was Johan providing the amusement as his “bed head” was something resembling  a Manga cartoon character and Sonic the Hedgehog rolled into one!

   Despite the cold though, everyone was in good spirits as we were going to take a hike up to the highest point of the Legodimo Reserve.  Botswana is predominately a flat country broken up with piles of rocks and randomly placed hills, the tallest of which we were going to scale to see what we could see.

    Staff member Andrew was to lead us to the top this morning and after filling our water bottles and charging our cameras, we set off.

   We headed along the dirt track outside our camp for a few minutes before suddenly forking off into the bush.  Andrew had been up to the top just a few days before and had marked out a trail by using pieces of charcoal to draw arrows onto rocks to point the way.  We were to be the test of his arrows!  As it was Antoine’s Birthday that day, he was given the “privilege of leading us, and we set off on the climb.

    It must be said that it is not an easy climb, this one.  We were soon scrambling over dirty rocks and through acacia bushes that have thorns as long as your finger.  We regularly came across leopard faeces and hyena dens with the skulls and bones of recent victims (animal victims, I hasten to add…) lying ...

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Rocky Mountain High
Rocky Mountain High

New Arrivals and Old Departures...   (published in South Africa)

August 9, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Wednesday July 28, 2010

   A couple of weeks ago, one of our pet rats here at the camp gave birth to 9 tiny, bald babies.  Coco, as she has been named, has been looking after her brood day and night as we kept a watchful eye on their progress. 

    It is amazing how quickly these little pink balls have grown in the space of a couple of weeks! They are now fully active, their eyes are open and fur has grown so we decided to let them out of their cage for some fresh air.  The volunteers were captivated by them as they all took turns in holding them - I have never heard as many “Aaaaws” in my life!  It is true though - they are mega-cute.  Our rats have been kept in the tool shed now for a few months and have become regular favourites amongst the volunteers.  It is great to get them up close and personal to these animals to see how they live and interact with one another.  They are very clean animals that have come to enjoy the human attention that is lavished upon them, and looking after their cages and feeding routine has become one of the daily camp duties for the volunteers.


   This week saw the departure of a few of or volunteers, and it was a teary farewell at the airport as we saw them off from their African adventure. Loman from France has been on the conservation project in Legodimo for 4 months and had become something of an institution here.  He was known for always appearing in the morning in his shorts, T-shirt and baseball cap no matter the weather - even when the rest of us were wearing every stitch of clothing we had with us and there was frost on the ground!  Loman, after being on countless bird observation walks, was teaching me all about the amazing ...

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New Arrivals and Old Departures...
New Arrivals and Old Departures...

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