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Nog maar één maand te gaan   (published in Mongolia)

November 22, 2017 by   Comments(0)

De Gobi voelt alweer als een eeuwigheid geleden, wat gaat de tijd hier snel. De afgelopen twee weken heb ik extra goed genoten van luxe, want ja dat had ik zeker wel gemist tijdens mijn week rondtrekken in de Gobi en daarnaast waren het de laatste twee weken van een inmiddels hele goede vriendin, Elvira. Helaas is ze maandag vertrokken om haar reis voort te zetten in Vietnam.... Super balen, en toch wel even wennen, want ik heb haar letterlijk elke dag gezien sinds ik hier aangekomen ben. Wel super bijzonder hoe snel zo'n goede vriendschap kan ontstaan en ik zal haar zeker weer terug zien.

Na de Gobi ben ik aan de slag gegaan met een nieuwe dokter, waar ik eerder de collage therapie mee gedaan had samen met Naziah. Eindelijk een dokter die veel therapie geeft en daarnaast ook nog is super geïnteresseerd is in mijn inbreng. Het duurde even, maar ik heb mijn plek gevonden en ga voorlopig ook niet ergens anders werken. In de afgelopen twee weken heb ik inmiddels aardig wat patiënten van hem gezien. Hij behandeld zowel patiënten die in het ziekenhuis verblijven als patiënten die gewoon thuis wonen. Ook behandelt hij de overlevenden van een hike ongeluk die hier twee weken geleden in Mongolië gebeurt is. Van de ongeveer 30 hikers zijn maar 7 overlevenden terug gekomen na een lawine. Verder verschillen de patiënten wel erg qua problemen. Ze hebben hier niet echt een specialisatie in een bepaalde stoornis of iets dergelijks. Hij is psychotherapeut, dus iedereen die therapie wil krijgen kan bij hem terrecht. Wat wel bijzonder is, is dat hij één van de twee dokters is in Mongolië die bereidt is om transgenders te helpen. Eén van zijn patiënten is een transgender, iemand die zich vrouw voelt, maar geboren is in een ...

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Nog maar één maand te gaan
Nog maar één maand te gaan

My last Weekend in Cambodia   (published in Cambodia)

November 21, 2017 by   Comments(0)

My final full weekend in Cambodia was spent in the most beautiful town of Kampot. We were two minutes walk away from the Teuk Chhou River which is surrounded by huge jungle mountains. On Friday afternoon, we went to Arcadia waterpark which is a waterpark on the river. There were zip lines and slides into the water and rubber rings we could just float on the water in the sun. It was beautiful! For the first time in Cambodia, I met a group of Northerners there and it was great to hear the Northern accent again!! The next day, we went on a full day tour up the Bokor National Park which is a huge mountain covered with jungle. The French found the mountain in 1917 when they owned Cambodia and created hotels and casinos for the rich and royal. They also built a post office and a Catholic Church. The French abandoned the mountain in the late 1940s during the First Indochina War. In 1972 the Khmer Rouge took control over the mountain and it was once of the places where city folk were sent to do hard labour. The Khmer Rouge also used it to fight the Vietnamese. Approximately 1000 people died on the mountain as the Khmer Rouge would blindfold and handcuff a fellow Cambodian and kick them off the cliffs. In the Catholic Church, there were holes in the walls where they fired ammunition out to kill the Vietnamese. However when the Vietnamese drove the Khmer Rouge out of Cambodia, the locals took everything out of the church, post office etc because they were good quality French materials to sell so they could eat. The road up to the mountain was built very well because the Vietnamese mafia developed it once the Khmer Rouge had left. It was such a shame because the mountain has just been sold to the Chinese who are building huge hotels and more casinos but the money they make isn't ...

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My last Weekend in Cambodia
My last Weekend in Cambodia

week 11   (published in Ghana)

November 17, 2017 by   Comments(2)

Friday: Instead of going to work, Tine and I traveled to Achimota to visit Street Girls Aid, an organization that aims to get girls off the streets. We met one of their social workers, Issa, when he came to the shelter to trace a family for one of the kids. He graciously invited us to visit, and we finally got to take him up on the offer. I was so incredibly impressed with the org. Every single person who works there is kind, welcoming, and actually looks like they love thier job. Since SGA is an NGO, it has private donors which allows them to provide a lot for the girls, including hospital visits for pregnant teens. However, their main job is sending outreach workers into the neighborhood to make contact with homeless girls. Once they build a relationship, they offer their services, and hopefully the girls accept. Once they do, they are given food, housing, vocational training, childcare, and even business and english lessons. Additionally, the org has a traveling library to teach street kids how to read. This day in particular, five young women were graduating from the hairdressing program, and we got to attend the celebration. Everyone was so proud of them, including themselves, which was beautiful to see. I'm attaching a link to thier website because it does a much better job explaining everything than I can, and there is a donate button if you have some spare cash lying around and want to support a truly impactful organization!

That evening, Claire was not feeling well so we took a little field trip to a not so nearby hospital! It was actually very interesting to see, a lot clearer than most hospitals back home, and besides the fact Claire was miserable I had quite a pleasant time. I know I made my mom proud because I got to show off my self-advocacy ...

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week 11
week 11

General teaching project Myanmar   (published in Myanmar)

November 15, 2017 by   Comments(0)

My husband and I decided to have a go at volunteering (even though we are quite old, both 52) and settled on the general teaching project in Myanmar. We decided to join after having bought tickets to fly to Yangon only 3 weeks before arriving. Ordinarily I think it takes a while to get everything in place to join one of the projects, but the project organiser was amazing and managed to fast track us through the paperwork phase.

So here we are, in Yangon, teaching teenagers in a monastery  school in a very poor neighbourhood.

when we arrived here we were met be the local representatives of the project and taken to a hostel, our home for the next few weeks they let us load of our suitcases then immediately whisked us of to visit the famous  Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, (an absolute must when visiting Yangon) and afterwards  we had dinner and a short introduction to the project handbook.

Next day we were picked up from the hostel and taken to the monastery and was introduced to the English teacher and the principal munk at the monastery.

We also got to meet some of the kids we are going to be teaching. The level of English is quite basic so when we got back to the hostel we spent a few hours getting some lesson plans together, crossing our fingers we had gauged the level right.

Today we were on our own trying to find our way to the monastery it entails getting a taxi to the ferry terminal then catching the very heavily used ferry to Dala, on the other side we have an agreement with a rickshaw that wait for us and takes us to the monastery every day.

We were teaching a class of varied aged children from 11 to 16 some local children and others the young monks from the monastery so it is quite a big age gap.

All the kids are really eager to learn and want to ...

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General teaching project Myanmar
General teaching project Myanmar

First few days of work   (published in Ecuador)

November 11, 2017 by   Comments(1)

What a fabulous first few days of work.  We've been doing a variety of tasks from clearing vegetation  for reforestation, preparing soil, removing non endemic invasive species, cleaning a beach and my favourite so far feeding and cleaning the pond for the giant tortoises. 

Yesterday it was an early start to record sea lion numbers on the beach with frigate birds overhead.  Then off to cut food for the tortoises and feed them.  Followed by a walk to a beautiful beach. Then we swam in the sea with tortoises, seals, a ray and a pelican all coming to join us. It is such a special place and the wildlife is so abundant.  Sea lions, marine iguanas, frigate birds, Darwin's finches are all so common. The animals are not frightened of you and come close,  but you are requested to keep 2 metres away from them so that you don't impact on their behaviour.

After a physically hard few days at work I'm looking forward to exploring the area and taking photographs of the wildlife over the weekend.

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First few days of work
First few days of work

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