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Taricaya Lodge puts on first inter-school Environmental Awareness Competition   (published in Peru)

June 15, 2010 by   Comments(0)

 By Stuart Timson of Peru Conservation

There have been many new highs at Taricaya and the most noticeable of these was a competition we organised amongst all the schools in Puerto Maldonado. May was the month in which the world celebrated its “Biodiversity Day” and to honour this we inaugurated the first inter-school “Environmental Awareness” competition in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Each school had held its own internal competition and the winners passed to a grand final that was held in the main square of Puerto Maldonado on May 22nd. The fantastic displays were accompanied by the four pupils who had designed them and their teachers. Our volunteers were assigned groups to supervise as the four judges went around each display and having listened to each group they chose their top three. The judges came from the Tambopata National Park, the INC (National Culture Institute), the Ecological Police and the Ministry of Education. The winning displays are currently being displayed in the local museum and the top three schools won a variety of prizes from visits to Taricaya, a camping trip in the national park and free pizza! The event was covered by local newspapers, radio and television and it was incredibly satisfying to see how the young Peruvians see the threats to their land and heritage. A great time was had by everyone concerned, and I must thank the volunteers for giving up their Saturday morning to help out. I am confident that this will now become an annual event, and I am very proud to see our work filtering through to the next generation of Peruvians. These youngsters hold the key to the future of the rain forest, and whether there will be any left for their children to enjoy.

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Taricaya Lodge puts on first inter-school Environmental Awareness Competition
Taricaya Lodge puts on first inter-school Environmental Awareness Competition

Wha G'wan From Jamaica!   (published in Jamaica)

June 13, 2010 by   Comments(0)

, , , , ,

Wha g'wan, mon!? Bless.

After a wonderful week in Mandeville with Projects Abroad's friendly and committed staff there I am now in perhaps the most laid back place on Earth: Treasure Beach.

Located on the west coast of Jamaica - about an hour by over-loaded taxi from Mandeville - Treasure Beach is a sleepy paradise. Everyone is extremely welcoming and, even though it is offseason and I could count the other foreigners here on one of Mickey Mouse's hands, they do not hassle you like is the norm in the tourist enclaves of developing countries. Instead they just come up and chat with you like they have known you for years. With perfect weather, emerald water, and a comfortable breeze, it is the perfect place to forget everything and bury yourself in a book (which, if you are me, you started a year ago but have not had the time to finish. Literally. One year).

I am also here for the beginning of the World Cup. What a contrast: the insanity of the festivities in South Africa seems so foreign. Equally as awkward was USA pulling off a 1-1 tie against England, the progenitors of both the US and of the sport. I would have thrown tea in the bay if water was not so pristine, and if the Tea Partyers back in the states did not do their best to make that synonymous with being a total crackpot.

Let me return to Mandeville, though, as my time there deserve some ink. After seeing all the worthwhile work Projects Abroad volunteers are doing there, I think my most memorable experience was meeting Mr. Stanley Williams. Mr. Williams is an old man who lives by himself in the bush with just an empty one-room shed of a house to live in. Before our Building projects, he did not even have that. Nor a toilet. He was just living in a tattered and exposed wood shack after a hurricane ...

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Wha G'wan From Jamaica!
Wha G'wan From Jamaica!

Reiki, heilen mit Haenden…   (published in Nepal)

June 11, 2010 by   Comments(0)


Ich bin Lea und bin jetzt seit 5 Wochen in Nepal. Ich habe das Glueck, hier bei einer sehr spirituellen Familie zu leben. Fuer mich ist das was ganz besonderes, denn Meditation und Alternativ-Medizin haben mich schon immer interessiert. Meine Gastmutter Kesari hat mich mit ihren Erfahrungen und Geschichten ueber taegliche Meditation in ihrem liebevoll gestalteten Meditationsraum auf meinen spirituellen Weg gebracht. Sie erzaehlte mir von ihrem Reiki Lehrer und zeigte mir das Reiki-Centrum, in dem sie selbst gelernt hat. Als ich selbst dort war, den Guru und die anderen Reiki-Heiler kennengelernt hatte, fuehlte ich mich so wohl, dass ich entschloss, selbst Reiki-Heilerin zu werden.

Am ersten Tag des Kurses bekam ich eine Einfuehrung, was mich am eigentlichen Kurstag erwarten wird. Ausserdem bekam ich ein Informationsheft ueber die Geschichte und Entwicklung von Reiki, sowie die Einzelnen Schritte der Meditation, der Selbstheilung und der Heilung von anderen.

Der Kurstag war fuer mich eine ganz besondere Erfahrung. Nach langer Meditation und einem spirituellen Ritual, in dem ich von dem Guru die universale Energie empfangen habe, uebten wir den Ablauf der Reiki-Meditation.

Hier eine kurze Beschreibung:

In den ersten 21 Tagen ist es wichtig, eine Selbstheilung durchzufuehren.

Diese wird von einer speziellen Diaet unterstuetzt.

Ich meditiere jetzt seit einer Woche, jeden Morgen vor dem Fruehstueck, etwa eine Stunde und ich geniesse die Zeit, die ich mir taeglich nur fuer mich selbst nehme.

Mit der Zeit geht man sorgsamer mit sich selbst und seiner Umwelt um, man lernt, sich geziehlt auf Dinge zu konzentrieren.


Ausserdem ist es sehr interessant sich mit anderen Reiki-Heilern auszutauschen und ueber die unterschiedlichen Erfahrungen zu diskutieren.

Ich stehe ...

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Reiki, heilen mit Haenden…
Reiki, heilen mit Haenden…

Cuppa with a host family   (published in Sri Lanka)

June 11, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Kandy is picturesque and lush and staying at Mrs Ariya Nanayakara’s place, you will have the best view in town! Volunteers stay in an apartment with a serene roof-top garden overlooking the valley below. Animals and birds roam freely and a couple of times, monkeys have invaded the kitchen and stolen a jam jar – strawberry is their biggest vice! Ariya has hosted volunteers since 2005 and now that her own children are all grown up, she likes the companionship.

“I accept them as part of the family and now that my children have gone, I enjoy their company. I’m not sure if they enjoy mine?”  she laughs.

Now a retired dental nurse and teacher, Ariya keeps herself involved in community work, teaching at a nearby Buddhist temple. Her husband is also in high demand for his social service, keeping busy on several community boards and committees. Ariya says the phone rings non-stop for her husband so she feels like his personal secretary sometimes!

“He’s moody when he’s tired but if I meditate, I can tolerate him!” she jokes.

And that’s what she does… Ariya spends 1-2 hours a day meditating and her garden provides the perfect setting for her. She also attends meditation camps and will spend nine whole days without saying a word! She says at the end of the course, some people are so happy and overwhelmed that they cry!

“I like to do a lot of meditation and have a quiet life… it keeps me fit and gives me the energy to work,” she says.

When she’s not meditating, you might find Ariya in the kitchen, as she often entertains her relatives at home, particularly over the holiday period. She says some volunteers want to learn how to make Sri Lankan dishes like Dhal, chicken and green ...

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Cuppa with a host family
Cuppa with a host family

Extra-curricular projects in Peru a huge success!   (published in Peru)

June 11, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Projects Abroad Peru volunteers have been helping out with 2 extra-curricular projects over the past few months. Both projects came to a conclusion this week with great success!

Teaching volunteers in the Sacred Valley had a change from teaching in high schools to leading evening classes to teach English to local artisans in Pisac. Volunteers taught on Mondays and Wednesdays for 5 weeks and really noticed an improvement in their level of English. Volunteer Hannah Biggs (pictured with her students) from Portishead, UK said of the experience "It was really fun because all the artisans were really friendly and enthusiastic. We had a laugh. It's completely different to teaching school children and I didn't want it to end!"

Our second, equally successful extra-curricular project came to a head today with a performance of "Al Rio le Pica" presented by children of Agropecuario School in Calca who were affected by devastating floods earlier this year. Projects Abroad staff and volunteers worked with the children and director during rehearsals and funded the project which was the result of many weeks of psychological workshops to help the children come to terms with their losses. Many thanks to all involved! To see photos of the performance check out Urubamba's June newsletter.

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Extra-curricular projects in Peru a huge success!
Extra-curricular projects in Peru a huge success!

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