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A nice experience...   (published in South Africa)

July 6, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Wednesday June 30, 2010

Reminiscent of the weather back in Ireland, we have awoken these past couple of days to a cloudy and overcast sky.  It’s saving grace however, is that it is nowhere near as cold as it has been this last month when temperatures plummeted to 3 degrees Celsius in the mornings. 

After breakfast yesterday we went on a research drive in our trusty Land Cruiser, Bertha. She has returned to us fresh from the mechanic and no longer needs to be push-started in the mornings now, much to the relief of the volunteers!

As we pulled away from the camp, we were greeted by a small heard of Impalas as well as the 2 elephants that seem to be hanging around the same spot a couple of hundred meters away from the camp.  We followed the Limpopo River that borders Botswana with South Africa and now and again we would pull into a shaded spot to get out and see what we could see.  It turned out that we could see a few hefty looking crocodiles lazily sunning themselves on the river banks over to our left and a couple of hippos grunting and roaring to our right.  Wagers were made on who would be man enough to swim across to the other side and back again. It turns out no one was...

Back at the camp, our conservation director, Gerrit, gave us a fascinating workshop on snakes: how to spot them, what to do if we do spot one and even advice on how to act if unfortunate enough to be bitten by one.  He is more than qualified on the subject as he has been breeding snakes all his life and has been bitten by some of the most poisonous snakes in Africa.  The fact that he was still standing there telling us the stories was a great testament to the advice he gave!  He even introduced us to one of his own snakes, a venomous puff adder ...

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A nice experience...
A nice experience...

A day at the Conservation Project- South Africa   (published in South Africa)

July 6, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Monday June 28th, 2010

The beginning of another week at my new home here in Legodimo Nature Reserve and I have realised that time is flying past.  I have heard some volunteers remark that the days seem to last a long time but the weeks no time at all, and I can see their point!  As everything here is new, the days do indeed seem to last a lot longer than they would back in whatever country you might call “home”.  Although it is, of course, in a good way as there is never a chance to become bored or blasé about the surroundings here as they are constantly changing.

We took a short ride out of the camp to see a real wonder of nature that has been standing for over 4000 years in the same spot.  As we bounced along the dusty track that serves as a road here, a giant Baobab tree loomed into view in front of us.  Now, Baobabs are large at the best of times, but this one was truly enormous.  It’s trunk is around 25 meters in diameter and the same again in height.  Yes, 25 meters! I had to walk for a full minute to get far enough away from it to get it all into a photograph.

Someone had made a wooden ladder on the side so we could take turns climbing up into the canopy and gaze dizzily down on the others below.  It was a truly unique experience and one I shall remember for a very long time.

We are in the middle of a full moon at the moment and the lack of electricity at the camp means no light pollution, which in turn means spectacular nighttime vistas of our night sky.  The stars are breathtaking and the moonlight is so bright we can walk without the need for a torch.

This became no more obvious when Pam and I offered to walk our cook, Jane, back to her house a few minutes walk from the camp.  She ...

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A day at the Conservation Project- South Africa
A day at the Conservation Project- South Africa

My Jamaican Experience – Mikkel Kunwald (Medical Volunteer from Denmark)   (published in Jamaica)

July 5, 2010 by   Comments(0)


So, how to start writing an article for the Projects Abroad and write about what, it’s been a main concern since I was asked to do so yesterday. I guess I’ll start by telling about myself. My name is Mikkel Kunwald, I am 26 years old and have for the most of the last four months, been a medical volunteer at the Mandeville Regional Hospital. I have studied medicine for three years in Denmark, where I am from, before I decided to take a year off from my studies to go travel (again). I have previously, on various trips, traveled through most of Europe including Iceland and Greenland, Northern Africa, some of the Middle Eastern countries, as well as riding the Trans-Serbian railroad through Russia, Mongolia and China, visiting Singapore and spending 6 months in Australia. This year’s travels were to include South Africa, Jamaica, Cuba and the USA and bring me just within reach of my 40 country marker.


I started my travel in South Africa where I worked as a surf instructor, teaching street kids how to surf as a part of a Projects Abroad placement. This project aimed to keep the kids off the street (at least a couple of hours a day), and teach them some basic non-gang/crime skills and basic conduct, and naturally by providing wetsuits and surfboards giving the kids the opportunity to enjoy the ocean in a way that they will never be able to by themselves.


After three months of surfing, peeling, and various adventures, I took a “swift” 48 hours journey, which included a night in the plane and one in JFK airport in New York, to Jamaica. Not knowing that I will be spending most of my weekends travelling to all parts of the island, I had given myself a week in Kingston before I started my work in Mandeville. A week spent mostly in ...

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My Jamaican Experience – Mikkel Kunwald (Medical Volunteer from Denmark)
My Jamaican Experience – Mikkel Kunwald (Medical Volunteer from Denmark)

Volunteering in Jamaica - contributed by Maureen Joel (Care Volunteer from United Kingdom)   (published in Jamaica)

July 5, 2010 by   Comments(0)

When I retired I decided to do something interesting with my life and whilst searching the internet I found Projects Abroad. I chose Jamaica as I had spent many happy holidays there and also have close family ties with Jamaica. I was very lucky to have Mr. and Mrs. Stewart as my host family who welcomed me into their home as part of their family from the moment I arrived.  My original placement was at a school, but I found it too difficult to cope with the noise. As soon as I told Projects Abroad, they changed my placement to Hanbury Children’s Home where I worked in babyland, which I loved. In the United Kingdom, I help my sister look after her two young grandsons. At Hanbury, I assist with six (6) toddlers aged between one and three years old. They are very sweet and can be a bit of a handful. I help to dress them, change them, feed them, play with them and give them lots of kisses and cuddles. I will really miss them all when I leave.


There have been many highlights of my time in Jamaica, but the best one is when Mrs. Stewart drove me to Kingston National Stadium to see Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, and all the top American and Jamaican athletes. Also I saw Freddie McGregor in concert before the athletics started – he is a favourite artiste of mine. The stadium erupted when Usain Bolt ran and won the 200 metres. The atmosphere in the Stadium was electric. One of my most memorable days was the Dirty Day at Manchester Infirmary when most of the volunteers painted the building, but I and three others gave the elderly female residents a pedicure. We soaked and scrubbed their feet, cut their toenails and massaged cream into their feet and painted their toenails.  They were so proud of their newly painted toenails, that they ...

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Volunteering in Jamaica - contributed by Maureen Joel (Care Volunteer from United Kingdom)
Volunteering in Jamaica - contributed by Maureen Joel (Care Volunteer from United Kingdom)

A taste of Peru   (published in Peru)

July 5, 2010 by   Comments(0)

In June 2010 I (Lieke) was the lucky one from the Projects Abroad office in The Netherlands who could visit our colleagues and projects in Peru. It was a short but beautiful and interesting trip which I will not forget. Before I tell you about my experience, I will introduce myself.

More than one year ago (in March 2009) I started my Job at Projects Abroad in The Netherlands. Although I sit behind my desk most of the time, I have not been bored for a single day. I have experience with volunteering myself in Romania and Moldova with several care projects and during my studies I have been in South America. This is very helpful when advising people who want to go abroad with us. At the beginning of this year I was happy to select one of our destinations for a visit. Peru was indeed my first choice but to be honest there is no destination which I would not like to visit.

On Saturday June 12th I left from Amsterdam and via Madrid and Lima I arrived in Cusco on Sunday morning. My colleague Ernesto was waiting at the airport with the famous Projects Abroad sign. Together we drove to Urubamba and immediately I could practice my Spanish. Luckily he also speak English because my Spanish is not fluent yet. The rest of the day I could relax after a 24 hour journey.

Urubamba is a pleasant village with one of those typical plazas where locals sit down and have a talk. So that's what I did and soon I was practising my Spanish again on my first day. Later the hotel owner gave me my first cup of coca tea with dried coca leaves (no, there are no drugs in coca tea!). This helps to get used to the height (and it is also used for other medical purposes). At night I already went to bed at half past six; due to the time difference my day had an extra zeven hours and that made me quite ...

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A taste of Peru
A taste of Peru

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