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A FERENJI’S RESPONSE TO “HOW IS ETHIOPIA?”   (published in Ethiopia)

July 2, 2010 by   Comments(0)

By Mirjam Zhender – Journalism Volunteer

It’s been nearly three months since I came to Ethiopia.  Being a foreigner who has never set foot in Ethiopian, my experience in this country has generally been a pleasant one.  Now, as I prepare to go back in time here.

I arrived at Bole International Airport 12 weeks ago. I arrived in the middle of the night; I was jet-lagged and there wasn’t much to take in at that time. The next day I was able to look around and the city seemed huge for me. I grew up and live in a small village with 1,500 inhabitants and the biggest city in Switzerland, Zurich, has 400,000.

The first two weeks were tough. Constant power cuts, being pointed at and called ferenji on the streets and the sight of poor people all over the city were some of the things I was not used to.  Soon enough I got used to the way of life here and learned a few things from my mistakes on the way.  For instance, it was constantly raining for the first month of my stay.  I learned never to go outside without an umbrella after I got soaked through to the skin the first time.  The food here proved a little problematic for my stomach for the first three weeks.  I was new to injera and was not used to being careful about the type and amount of food I ate.  Since I was living with a host family here, I had most of my meals with them and got used to different kinds of Ethiopian food and developed my taste.  I especially developed a taste for Shiro.

My knowledge about the country and its culture developed through conversations with different people.  All my conversations had one thing in common: everyone said to me “How is Ethiopia?” and “how is Addis?”  I never really knew how ...

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My time in Ethiopia   (published in Ethiopia)

July 2, 2010 by   Comments(0)

By Eline  Verheul - Care and Community Volunteer        

My time in Ethiopia

At the end of January I decided to stop my studies. I started to search for some volunteering organisation. I found the website of Projects Abroad and everything looked beautiful. I made an appointment with Projects Abroad in Dordrecht (Holland) and after 2 minutes we agreed that Ethiopia was the best option for me.

After I made my decision and filled in all the forms the Projects Abroad staff in Ethiopia started to get in contact with me. The contact was very good and I could ask all the questions I had. They even called me a few times!

My host family

For those 9 weeks it really felt like my own family. I got my little sisters to play with; I had my older sisters to talk to, share clothes, go out with and meet new people. Especially in my first weeks! Then there was the lovely mother, who really takes good care of all the volunteers. You never ate too little, actually always too much. It is a big, busy family and almost everyday I saw new people coming to the house. During my first few weeks I spent a lot of time with the daughters of the family. My first Sunday I went to church with the oldest daughter of the family. It was a protestant church and I loved the worship there! 

My work

The work I was doing in Ethiopia was amazing. In the morning I started at Safe House, a day care centre where the children are given breakfast and sent to private school with lunch. They will return to eat dinner at Safe House. Every morning when I passed the gate of Safe House all the kids ran to me and gave me a kiss or a hug. I took my time over it because I really loved them. It is maybe the smallest thing you can do to make them happy.

I had really good ...

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My time in Ethiopia
My time in Ethiopia

Birth of the Bear Mobile!   (published in Sri Lanka)

July 2, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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Charley’s car was somewhat of an icon here in Sri Lanka. Charley cared for it with the tender lovingness of a young mother towards her newborn. He washed it regularly, cringed when people tested the handles while it was still locked and seemed innately happy while driving it – it had a super cool air-conditioner. It brought us great sadness when Charley sold his car this month but alas, he has bought another which we have fondly christened the “Bear mobile.” However, here are some photos of Charley’s last moments with his old Toyota.


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Birth of the Bear Mobile!
Birth of the Bear Mobile!

Victory for the Dutch!   (published in South Africa)

July 1, 2010 by   Comments(0)

(by staff member - Ryanne van Dormolen, Volunteer Supervisor at the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office)

It all started a few weeks ago when lots of tickets went on sale; there was ‘World Cup Ticket Fever’ throughout South Africa and living in Cape Town I got infected immediately. Jos van der Linden, a volunteer from the Netherlands who works at the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office, volunteered to get tickets, for which I am still grateful. We soon discovered that a Dutch Grassroots Soccer project volunteer, Casper Engelkens, would be joining us.


High-heeled, well-spirited and wearing the best outfit of all of us, Sonia Niami from Cameroon (volunteers at the business project) joined us for the FIFA Fan Walk. An amazing mass of people dressed in orange, and the occasional Cameroon supporter, walked to the stadium. The atmosphere was cheerful and throughout the whole Fan Walk there were bands playing and people dancing. Cape Town is a beautiful, lively city; hopefully the World Cup will get this image across to all tourists.

As soon as I entered the stadium I was overwhelmed by its beauty, the massive orange crowd and the idea of seeing my countrymen play. Being seated close to the pitch we had a great view of the game and 1 – 0 got me in the best of moods. When Cameroon scored after being awarded a penalty I started to get worried.  Thankfully though the Netherlands managed to win 2 – 1. Watching a game in the stadium is nothing like watching it in front of the television at home. The ambience creates a natural high, ninety minutes fly by and leave you amazed and ready to celebrate.

After leaving the stadium we proceeded to Tommy’s, a Dutch sports bar. Dutch sing-along-songs were proudly played and even the ...

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Victory for the Dutch!
Victory for the Dutch!

Adios Amigos!   (published in Mexico)

July 1, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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I want to start this blog by saying that it has been a great season in Ciudad Guzman for Journalists. A great pleasure we had in Projects Abroad was to hear about the successful programme of Mr. Alberto Carniel, from Italy.

He was enrolled in the journalism project. He came here for a period of 2 months but he ended up doing 3 months plus 4 days! This week Alberto says 'Adios amigos' (goodbye my friends) having completed what it was for him a great experience.

A really important thing he achieved during his time in Cd. Guzman was the publication of his book 'A la sombra del diario' with the support of the local government he made it come true! In this publication he talks about the environmental problems that Mexico and Italy face, similarities and possible solutions!

Wait to hear directly from him very soon in this blog!!!Meanwhile...Thanks Alberto for your great enthusiasm and successful time in Mexico!

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Adios Amigos!
Adios Amigos!

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