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A Birthday Bash in the Bush!   (published in South Africa)

July 9, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Monday July 5, 2010

   The weekends on the Conservation project here in Botswana tend to be the time when we get the chance to head into “civilisation” in order to restock our supplies as well as catch up on anything Internet-related.  Although to most people, the little stretch of road that houses a small hotel, a coffee shop and a couple of service stations might not be seen as much of anything, when you have spent the past week living in the middle of a nature reserve with little electricity, no Internet, phone, TV or shop; it is very much appreciated!

   We normally have a “social night” on Fridays when we stay at the little Alldays Hotel, have a couple of cold drinks and catch up with the World Cup on the TV.  This weekend was an extra special one as it was Meike, one of our staff members’ 21st Birthday.  A party was planned and it was to be made even better by the arrival of 7 new volunteers who had just flown in that afternoon.   A huge fire was lit and we all made a special effort to stay up until the Birthday countdown at midnight.  A great time was had by all and we said our fond farewells the next morning as Meike and her fiancé, Gerrit - the conservation director - flew off for their wedding and honeymoon over the next month.

   Returning ‘home’ with the new volunteers on Saturday, it was great to see more new faces arriving at the camp and getting to know each other.  The dorm rooms have been cleaned and freshly painted for their arrival and they spent no time in settling into their new home for at least the next month.  We have a lot of French people at the moment and more to come in the next week.  We also have volunteers from ...

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A Birthday Bash in the Bush!
A Birthday Bash in the Bush!

Found it!   (published in Ghana)

July 9, 2010 by   Comments(1)

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I know that if you are back at home you can probably get a Twi for beginners’ book over the internet, but here in Ghana it’s not that easy to find.

So I went to the bookshop in the culture centre in Kumasi to go and find one. Luckily enough they had two copies of this particular book, but the next time I went there it was gone! It cost me 7 cedis, which is a lot here, but I could not get it any lower. So if you’re coming to Ghana, it might be better to buy one at home as you have a better chance of getting one.

I have written before about how important Twi is in the Ashanti region, and I am emphasising it once again. There are so many benefits of being able to speak a little bit as the people will be more open to accepting you. If anyone is going to be in Ghana for two months or more, they will really see the difference and the how much it helps to be able to speak just a little bit.


By Minato Kobori


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Found it!
Found it!

Volunteer Social at Smuggler's Cove   (published in Fiji)

July 9, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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We've had lots of new volunteers arrive here in Fiji in the past week so we all met at Smuggler's Cove at Wailoaloa beach for a bit of a get together and to watch Smuggler's Cove's infamous Fire Dancers!!

Smuggler's Cove is actually a backpacker hostel, so the place is buzzing with excited people who have just arrived or those who are on their way out who have lots of great travelling stories and tips.

The volunteers all got along great!  Our one boy volunteer was largely outnumbered by the 13 or so girls here at the moment, but quite enjoyed it I think.

The Fire Dancers came on and performed a number of amazing different traditional dances.  Each dance originates from a different one of Fiji's many islands, and most of them are interpretive of the activities which are part of every day life.  There were also some female dances who could really shake their hips at intense speeds, which really blew us away!

The male dancers also did a stomach churning Knife Dance, during which they did some impressing twirling and tossing of enormous machetes! 

For the grand finale everyone had to walk down to the beach, away from the lights to watch the Fire Dancing.  The show was great and the dancers pulled off some very tricky (and dangerous) looking moves with ease!

At the end of the evening the audience is invited to step on to the sandy stage and join in with the dancing - at his point the machetes and fire are kept far away!!  A couple of our volunteers really got into the groove and danced a funny looking dance with the pros, much to the rest of the group's amusement!

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Volunteer Social at Smuggler's Cove
Volunteer Social at Smuggler's Cove

Lake Bosumtwi   (published in Ghana)

July 9, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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              We call it ‘Kumasi’s beach’ as we are located up north, far away from the sea. It is Ghana’s one and only natural lake and it is about an hour away from Kumasi. It’s a popular destination for the volunteers here in Kumasi, especially if they are feeling a little tired and don’t want to travel far. It can easily be done in one day, although staying a night by the lake is very nice.

              The history of the lake is interesting too, as it was originally created by an ancient meteorite crater. The people think the lake is sacred and believe that the souls go there to bid farewell to the god Twi. This is why they only use wooden planks to fish. They really did just use planks, and it was really funny to see them fishing on them!

              We stayed in a place called Rainbow Gardens, a neat guesthouse which has a lodge by the lake, different coloured huts, bonfire and very nice staff.

              The real attraction of this lake is that you can swim in it with no problems, unlike Lake Volta with reported parasites which makes swimming unadvisable. The water is as still as it can be and if you go in it during the day time, it is actually hot! The whole lake is surrounded by an immense expanse of greenery and it is a really nice place to relax for the weekend. It is certainly the nicest place I have swam in during my time here.

              Perhaps volunteers who are not ...

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Lake Bosumtwi
Lake Bosumtwi

One of the wonders of Argentina... San Carlos de Bariloche   (published in Argentina)

July 8, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Tucked in the south coast of the Nahuel Huapi Lake is the beautiful town of San Carlos de Bariloche. It is for many synonymous for winter, snow and skiing. Also known as the "American Switzerland", this area offers more than just a great ski destination.

Visitors are enchanted by the city's views of soaring mountains, clear lakes, and beautiful pine woods, all in the heartland of the nearby national park. With charming Swiss chalet style stone and wooden architecture, international ski slopes, and renowned chocolate shops, Bariloche is a place where time seems to have stopped. With a wide range of options for tourism, both conventional and adventurous, visitors throng to Bariloche year after year to breathe in its fresh mountain air and enjoy its truly everlasting beauty.

Bariloche, which is in the heart of Patagonia's Lake District, is in close proximity to several nearby attractions worth seeing during a visit. Travel to Argentina's oldest National Park - Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, explore the renowned touring circuits such as Circuito Chico, take a day trip to the enchanting Isla Victoria, visit the magnificent Llao Llao Resort on the peninsula that bears the same name, or even take the Lake Crossing Excursion to Chile. All these sight-seeing opportunities are easily accessible.

In winter, Bariloche provides excellent opportunities for skiing, an activity enjoyed from June to September. In fact, it is one of the best places to ski in South America!  The main mountain is Cerro Catedral, only 18 kilometers from the city, with peaks resembling gothic temples and dozens of runs varying in difficulty for skiers of every level. A smaller skiing destination a few hours away from Bariloche is Cerro Chapelco in San Martin de los Andes.

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One of the wonders of Argentina... San Carlos de Bariloche
One of the wonders of Argentina... San Carlos de Bariloche

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