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Catalina's Experience   (published in Cambodia)

June 3, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Two months in Cambodia seemed like a long time to be away from my family and friends back in Europe. I remember thinking “What am I getting myself into?” as I was settling into my new accommodation, which was deserted at my arrival in the early morning. I felt lonely and I felt insecure. Who were my roommates? Would I make friends easily? Will I get used to the culture shock?

The answer was YES. After just a few days in Phnom Penh I started feeling more at ease with my surroundings and I even found myself feeling “at home” sooner than I expected. The staffs were always there and helpful, smiling and offering whatever they could to help. My first month’s placement was at the Southeast Asia Globe Magazine and I was to be a journalist intern. Having very little experience in that field I was both excited and apprehensive of what was to come. On my first day on the job I got to go to a press conference at the Australian Embassy with my boss and I remember thinking: “Wow this is some serious stuff!” It was a nice start to what was going to be an otherwise office-confining month. My daily work consisted of researching the web for international news that wouldn’t be old a month later and that was relevant for the Mekong region…needless to say that was quite a difficult task. I then got to write some short news stories, which were published in the next month’s issue along with an interview I had done via email with a young and successful Vietnamese chess-player. As the days flew by, I did more and more things both on my own and with others. One weekend five of us volunteers went to Sihanoukville and had a blast. We stayed at Otres Beach, a beautiful beach but very quiet and far from the lively town centre ...

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Catalina's Experience
Catalina's Experience

Dirty Weekend in India   (published in India)

June 2, 2010 by   Comments(0)

This past Sunday, several volunteers based around Madurai came to the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary to help repaint part of its complex as part of the program’s “Dirty Weekend”.

The six volunteers, along with the help of three staff members, were able to spiff up two of the rooms with blue and red paint, and have an awesome time in the process! We gave the walls a new cover of paint, touched up the room’s furniture, and even covered some of the outside shutters and doors.

TTS thanked the volunteers for a job well done at the end of the morning, after which the volunteers celebrated their success over a wholesome Indian lunch of sambar, chapati, and other dishes provided by Projects Abroad India.

Contributed by John Qua - Staff from Projects Abroad UK

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Dirty Weekend in India
Dirty Weekend in India

Mole National Park adventure!   (published in Ghana)

June 1, 2010 by   Comments(0)


              4:00AM. Hardly the ideal time to meet up, but in Ghana this is a pretty standard time to set off on a journey. So I met with the rest of the volunteers in the Metro Bus station in Kumasi to head to Tamale in order to eventually get to Mole. Getting tickets for the bus was no easy task, having to resist the hoard of Ghanaians trying to push through the queue!

The metro-bus was fairly uncomfortable for all the 6 hours it took to get to Tamale, but if you have experienced long distance tro tro rides, this was nothing. Highlights of journey included a roadside pineapple lady who managed to cut up a pineapple perfectly in 30 seconds flat and being sandwiched between two volunteers who wouldn’t let me sleep (thanks guys!).

The plan was to get to Larabanga, a town about four hours away from Tamale, and stay there for the night. After hours of sweating on the tro tro and bus we finally managed to get to our small beaten-down hostel. In a small village without running water or any particular cuisine to mention, one would wonder why we decided to stay there. The attraction of the hostel was that we got to sleep on the roof (yes!), and the attraction of the village was that it had the oldest mosque in West Africa. The night on the roof was a wonderful experience, lying under the stars and enjoying the nighttime breeze.

The next day we visited the mosque and somehow ended back at the hostel with all of us with a child holding our hand. This is something quite common too in Ghana! The ride to the national park was probably one of the coolest ways to get to a destination, sitting on a back of a motorbike, racing through the dirt road. Mine was a particularly exhilarating ride after ...

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Mole National Park adventure!
Mole National Park adventure!

Lucha Libre! A Mexican tradition!   (published in Mexico)

June 1, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Mexican wrestling has become one of the most traditional sports in Mexico but it has also transcended space and time. The peculiar masks and tricks during the matches are typical and can't be found in any other country's wrestling.

This tradition almost died during the 90's decade but now the young generations are very into it . Entire families go to the Arena to enjoy of this really professional sport which can be funny at the same time. A place for kids and grown ups, for women and men, for everyone!

That is why, in Projects Abroad Mexico we had a Lucha Libre week. A couple of weeks ago we started our Mexican Wresting week with a movie called 'Nacho Libre' with Jack Black. Last Tuesday, we had a great trip to the Arena. As part of the arrangements there was a bus (Double decker style by the way) which took us all the way there and we got into the Arena Coliseo de Guadalajara. So the fight started!

Everyone had so much fun, the double-decker picked collected us and brought us to the starting point!

Looking forward to the next event!

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Lucha Libre! A Mexican tradition!
Lucha Libre! A Mexican tradition!

A Happy Ending by Sylvie Bousselet   (published in Sri Lanka)

June 1, 2010 by   Comments(0)

  There's a beginning and an ending to every good story... Sylvie from France tells us hers...

The beginning: two years and half ago, in October November 2007, I undertook my first humanitarian project  with Projects Abroad; October 15th, arriving for the first time in Colombo, the following days I began to work in a village, the morning in a Montessori with children from 3 to 5, and at Jagadallah Temple orphanage with 36 boys from 6 to 18, in the afternoon (English lessons, art and sport activities). It was a great challenge for me and in the same time a very great experience that I will never forget. I learnt a lot.

Then, as I had taken a sabbatical year, I went to Cambodia for a project with orphans in Phnom Penh and in Peru to work in a pre-school.

Time went on but I was still thinking of the 36 boys that I had met in Sri Lanka; I was really proud of them; they cooked, cleaned their rooms, washed their clothes -- do not forget that in Sri Lanka they go to school wearing white clothes, still very white even if it is raining (magic !….ask them how they do it) --.repaired the building, gardening, and so on…and have few possessions of their own. .

I wanted to go back to Sri Lanka, to visit them and my host family as well, nevertheless I considered a visit too personal a goal to justify going there; I wanted to do something useful for them.

Last summer, a light lit-up in my head: a library!

Now: 2010, time for the New Year, time to announce my little project to Projects Abroad office in Colombo; it was important for me to inform them and to obtain their support. Gishan gave me encouragements as soon as I told him. So, in February I was organizing my trip and as I have an Irish friend, living in France, I explained to her my idea ...

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A Happy Ending by Sylvie Bousselet
A Happy Ending by Sylvie Bousselet

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