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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

New threads for Dutch Anne's Montessori   (published in Sri Lanka)

July 8, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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Dutch Anne's Montessori got brand new school uniforms this month. The children were so excited to open parcels of custom made, baby blue outfits! All the volunteers had a wonderful time dressing the kids and seeing them smiling in their new kits!


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New threads for Dutch Anne's Montessori
New threads for Dutch Anne's Montessori

Reflections from Sri Lanka   (published in Sri Lanka)

July 8, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Hi there,

 I’m Faye and I recently graduated my MSc in Physiotherapy and thought what better way to start the job hunt than from doing it from the other side of the world?  I’ve been asked so many times by the locals why I chose Sri Lanka and I honestly can’t say why. But I do know I love it here.  Being stared at is a little intimidating initially but you just look back and smile if they are female, wave if they are a child and if they are male- well I’ll leave that one up to you! I spent my time working on Panadura Base Hospital which is very busy but you soon get used to the noise and very different conditions (hygiene) from your own country.

With so many volunteers the weekend trips are always amazing.  We have trekked up Adams Peak at 2.00am (which is really cold – not Sri Lankan cold but Russian cold!!), ridden elephants (recommended but barter your price) and visited enough Temples for me to officially classify myself a Buddhist!  A must see is Sigirea with the most beautiful views, history and a bit of exercise to get to the top.  It wouldn’t be much of a blog if I didn’t mention the beaches.  Paradise has no limits as they are truly amazing.  One word of warning - the current.  Either send your strongest swimmer in first to see if they come back out or ask a local especially if you are going to surf. And remember there is nothing better than sitting in a hammock drinking a coconut after splashing about in the sea!!

Rule of thumb for the host families, always take off your shoes when entering the house unless told otherwise.  When served food you like it helps to be extremely enthusiastic about it (and I don’t mean a pleasant smile- more of a five year old at ...

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Reflections from Sri Lanka
Reflections from Sri Lanka

Teaching monks English in Kandy   (published in Sri Lanka)

July 8, 2010 by   Comments(0)

When you think of teaching, it need not be confined to the walls of a school. Here in Sri Lanka you can take your lessons to a temple, teaching young monks valuable English skills. At Siri Dhammarathana Bhikku Training Centre, located in the picturesque and hilly Kandy, you can share your knowledge and practice conversation with between 10 and 16 Buddhist monks each morning. There is a temple on site but the property operates predominately as a Training Centre. The centre opened in 1984 and since that time, around 400 Buddhist monks and boys have been educated there.


The classroom is basic – a couple of bench tables on a dirt floor facing a blackboard but it is the cultural exchange that will occur between you and the monks which is the most valuable thing. Many of the monks live on the temple grounds and come from poor villages in the surrounding area. Some of them will abandon their studies to become monks as they grow older and the Head Priest at this Temple has a realistic attitude about this. He says many of the students go and do vocational training in skills like carpentry and welding over the weekends. Therefore, he is supportive of the boys learning other life skills should they decide not to become monks in the end. That’s another reason why learning English is so worthwhile for them!


You will find that the students are extremely eager and enthusiastic to learn! You should bring any visual materials, books, coloured paper, flash cards etc because the temple has very limited resources. Giving the monks the courage and confidence to speak English is very empowering so give it a try and maybe they will teach you some Sinhalese in return! After all, learning is always reciprocal.



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Teaching monks English in Kandy
Teaching monks English in Kandy

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