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Memorable moments in Ghana. By Caroline Bratt (2 week special volunteer, Akuapem Hills Ghana, June 2010)   (published in Ghana)

August 16, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Before the jet lag kicked in two of my host family's daughters encouraged me to come fetch water with them, and I enthusiastically said yes. We went three times to the pump and during the third trip back I was spilling a lot more water than the first two trips. I can still remember how cheerful the kids were while they waited for their turn and helped the younger kids lift buckets of water on to their heads at the pump. I learned many new hand clapping games and many new friendly faces that laughed with me while we waited our turn to pump water from the faucet. 




Another memorable time was the first time a big rain storm fell over the village. Some of the volunteers and I ran out with the kids in the town and played football and danced in the rain. I remember how clean and refreshed I felt after a tiring day of work and humid heat. The kids were all so happy and excited to be playing and slipping over the muddy ground; when I was with them I felt like I was six again. The fields of green grass, that came up to my head, and banana trees that covered the landscape, gave the community energy and faith as well as spirit making the people look so welcoming and blessed. I am happy and thankful that the community gave me the opportunity to live like them and be another family member in their home.




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Memorable moments in Ghana. By Caroline Bratt (2 week special volunteer, Akuapem Hills Ghana, June 2010)
Memorable moments in Ghana. By Caroline Bratt (2 week special volunteer, Akuapem Hills Ghana, June 2010)

When to visit in Ethiopia   (published in Ethiopia)

August 16, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Ethiopia can be visited at any time of year. People are often advised against traveling during the rainy season, which normally runs June until early October, but with Lalibela being accessible all year through this is less of an issue than it used to be.  Indeed, having traveled in Ethiopia at most times of year my self, I actually feel the rainy season is my favorites period, partially because there are fewer other tourists at sites such as Lalibela, but above all because the scenery is so much more impressive when the countryside is green and well watered.  A lovely time of year is September trough to early October, when the whole country is a riot of wild meskel flowers.

The most popular time to visit Ethiopia is between October and January, when the rains are over but the countryside is still quite green. Many travelers try to schedule their trip to coincide with important festivals such as Ethiopian New year, Ethiopian Christmas, Timkat and Meskel.  The European winter is also the best time for birds, as resident species are supplemented by large numbers of paratactic migrants.

One area where travel options are restricted during the rains is South Omo.  The rains here typically fall in April and May, but they may run earlier or later, for which reason March and June are also probably best avoided, as are the short rains in October.


To anyone who has traveled elsewhere in Africa, Ethiopian food comes as a welcome revelation . instead of the bland gristle and starch that is the standard restaurant fare in most African small towns, Ethiopia food is deliciously spicy and you can eat well virtually anywhere in the country. Contrary to many people’s expectations, most of Ethiopia is fertile, food is easy to find, and ...

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When to visit in Ethiopia
When to visit in Ethiopia

TARICAYA RESEARCH CENTRE : JULY 2010   (published in Peru)

August 16, 2010 by   Comments(0)

            Elsewhere at Taricaya it was time to start monitoring the turtle beach entrusted to us by the Peruvian government. The “friaje” which sent temperatures plummeting around the 15th July meant that we delayed the start of the project as the turtles would not lay their eggs in cold sand and justifiably so as we went to inspect the beach the day after the cold weather lifted and there was not a turtle track to be seen anywhere. The freshwater turtles (Podocnemis unifilis) will only lay their eggs if the weather conditions are ideal and this includes the lunar cycle also. Soon after the cold passed we went into a full moon and the excessive light deterred laying also. Nevertheless we established our presence on the beach to deter fishermen and egg poachers whose tracks we had seen on that initial inspection and not many nights after with the moon fading and the sand warming we collected our first nests. To date we have 15 nests collected with close to 500 eggs and I am confident that as nesting conditions continue to improve that we will have a great month in August.

            The large numbers this month made it possible to work on many projects simultaneously and with many enthusiastic volunteers we were able to send out large groups to clear and remark our trail system. With large groups heading out armed with machetes and rakes we managed to tackle the longer trails deep in the reserve and as some needed to be modified to avoid large tree falls, GPS points were taken again to update our current map. With such an extensive presence in the reserve it was inevitable that we would come across some of the rainforest’s residents and this ...

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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'!!!

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