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Volunteers and staff entertained by South African acoustic comedy band - The Brothers Streep   (published in South Africa)

August 5, 2010 by   Comments(0)

By Carlos Ochoa (Projects Abroad staff member from Mexico, currently working at the Cape Town office)

From what I’ve heard, Cape Town’s music scene is quite varied, with lots of new bands emerging every week and lots of styles all around the city. But on 19 June I was invited to a concert and had the chance to see a very “entertaining” band, which mixes alternative acoustic rock and comedy, it was quite an amusing show I must say!


The band can perfectly dance their way around that dangerous zone in between comedy acts and music without loosing their audience for a single moment, the show never drops not even in between songs when the musicians are tuning their instruments, since you are always waiting for something to happen - may it be a witty comment, weird face or a funny impression, no matter what they always seem to find a way to put a big laugh on everyone’s face. This great act performs under the moniker of The Brothers Streep and they have just released their first studio album called Suitable For The Whole Family (available from their website -


A comedy packed album whose lyrics revolve around sarcastic themes and daily silly routines in such a gracious and sparkling way that once the CD stops spinning in your stereo you would still be singing the choruses in your head!  They were actually on The Graham Norton Show this year, a live Skype session broadcast with the band playing one of their songs to movie star Anna Paquin, a tribute song that the band composed for their first album based on their admiration and mostly nerdy love obsession for the young actress’s eccentric and peculiar beauty.


Comedy acoustic rock at its best!  One more proof that Cape Town still has lots to offer in the artistic ...

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Volunteers and staff entertained by South African acoustic comedy band - The Brothers Streep
Volunteers and staff entertained by South African acoustic comedy band - The Brothers Streep

First day of my volunteer project in Cordoba by Gavin O'Riain (IRELAND - Sports)   (published in Argentina)

August 4, 2010 by   Comments(2)

First day of my volunteer project in Cordoba, Argentina. I feel nervous, mostly because I can’t wait to get started, but a small part of me remains a bit more worried. What if the kids don't talk to me? What if the other volunteers don't accept me? And most importantly, what kind of difference can sport make in a young poor child's life?

I have planned a month in Argentina in order to give sport classes to under privileged kids in Argentina. My main placement would be in a "barrio" called Villa Libertador, one of the poorest and most dangerous areas in Cordoba, teaching rugby.

Stepping outside of the car, I am greeted by half a dozen hands, calling me "profe". As I shake them, I make my way to the "pitch": a used-up, stone-filled football pitch. As I walk upon it a fight breaks out. It starts as a one-on-one but soon everyone gets involved. All I can think about is: What  have I got myself into?!

The 10 minutes that followed truly determined the way I would look at the next month of my life, because it is exactly in these types of situations when the values of rugby surpass the borders of sport to set guidelines to kids who have been let down daily since they were born. The kind of guidelines that can lay that invisible hand on their shoulder to steer them away from mischief and into a healthy and decent lifestyle.

For leading me to the Villa Libertador Rugby Club, and permitting me to meet so many funny and outstanding human beings, I thank Projects Abroad.

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First day of my volunteer project in Cordoba by Gavin O'Riain (IRELAND - Sports)
First day of my volunteer project in Cordoba by Gavin O'Riain (IRELAND - Sports)

Festivities, holidays and a bit of work too!   (published in Peru)

August 4, 2010 by   Comments(0)

I made no mistake when I said that I would be experiencing many more festivals in this country!  In the last few weeks we have witnessed Mamacha Carmen (A religious festival for the Virgin Carmen centered mainly in Paucartambo), Las Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day celebrations), El Día de Pachamama (the day when you give thanks to the earth and ask for another good year´s harvest) and Corpus San Cristóbal (A religious festivity that sees the plaza San Cristóbal in Cusco overflowing with people eating, playing music and parading with banners and statues of the Virgins).  It is no surprise to me if I wake up in Cusco in the early morning to the sound of cohetes (firecrackers) going off.  It becomes so common that many of my local friends lose track of what festivity is being celebrated – it is not unusual that they shrug their shoulders when I ask curiously what is the meaning of the yellow confetti sprinkled outside the doors of the houses or why the sky is lit up with sparks and bangs.

During the months of July and August the children in the Sacred Valley also have their chance to relax and take a holiday as many of the schools and kindergartens close for a few weeks.  This means that our volunteers are now busy working on various community projects.  This week they have been getting up early to make their way to Chahuaytire, a community one hour from Pisac and at an altitude of about 4000m.  There they are helping at a school digging a ditch to install water pipes so that their kitchen will be supplied with water.  Yesterday the volunteers all got involved in games of football with the children during their break – a physical day´s work but very rewarding for the volunteers!...

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Festivities, holidays and a bit of work too!
Festivities, holidays and a bit of work too!

Beautiful Nadi   (published in Fiji)

August 3, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Time is flying by and it's hard to believe that I have been in Fiji over six weeks already.  July is behind us, one 2 Week Special is over, the second is in full swing and the winter season is coming to an end - each day is warmer than the last and the days are getting longer.  The short term summer-holiday volunteers are less and less, and most of the people arriving here are staying for longer periods of time. 

And me, I'm slowly getting used to Fiji-Time and not letting general lateness of everything frustrate me :P!! Things happen when they happen, and life is relaxed!

I'm guessing that 'beautiful' is not the word usually used to describe Nadi... the big concrete road cutting through the entire city, the rutsy buses spewing black smoke, the sometimes ugly buildings crowded together on the street sides, do not altogether paint a pretty picture...

But the longer I'm here, the more of a chance I get to look past beyond the grey road, and through the black smoke at the natural beauty which sits just past the uninspiring architecture.  Past the airport in the north lies a large mountain range - green hills standing tall against the blue sky.  This is is surrounded by lush, ripe flora and fauna, wild, tropical flowers palm trees, papaya plants.  As you head south you can see a sprawling of residential houses, mainly bungalows in brilliant colors with abundant gardens. There is plenty of green everywhere.

Turn off the main road at almost any junction and in a short time you are in the midst of a Fijian village.  Small houses gathered together, laundry lines carrying baby clothes, shrines to the Hindu Gods - the red fags raised high above the roofs, dirt roads, coconuts.

Wailoaloa Beach, the closest beach to Nadi, is, by ...

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Beautiful Nadi
Beautiful Nadi

ARYABALA TEMPLE   (published in Mongolia)

August 3, 2010 by   Comments(0)

I have been to the Aryapala Initiation and Meditation Monastery in Terelj National Park four times. Like a really good movie, it seems that every time I go I see something new. Instead of feeling like I am sight-seeing, though, my trips gradually feel more and more like pilgrimages to a foundation of my beliefs.

            This monastery is perched up against a mountainside at the end of a valley. It is separated from the world by a rickety wooden bridge meant to purify the comers and goers (and presumably to test their courage and will to set foot on it!). The monastery is meant to be a place where monks come for years at a time to meditate, but I’ve never seen anyone in “monk clothes” there. So, currently the only resident is a sweet old man who enjoys saying the word “mouse!” when people notice the handles to the monastery doors (wooden mice). The first thing I notice on the way up to the monastery is the fragrant smell of Siberian herbs. They sweeten the inexhaustible breeze and fill it with strange scents that are unique to this place. The seasons for different flowers are so short here that return trips usually show completely different array of colours.

            Once I have weaved my way through the fluttering poplar saplings, I find myself at the wooden bridge and a sign in Mongolian that states the four person weight limit. Although no one in our group originally noticed the sign, none of us was willing to test the bridge with more than four people anyway. Looking down at the bridge as you cross the bridge can be even more frightening than the first impression. You will notice that there are boards coming up, nails ...

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