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Recent Blog Posts Worldwide

10 weeks already   (published in Cambodia)

August 19, 2017 by   Comments(0)

It feels like time has moved very quickly over the past months. Yesterday, I spent the final day of my 10 weeks working on the microfinance project already. Because I still have one week in Cambodia ahead of me to do some travelling, there was no need to say goodbye yet, but it did feel a little bit strange to leave the office for the last time though. 

During my last weeks on the project, we had a lot of new, potential beneficiaries that were requesting a loan from us. So we spent a lot of time going to the communities to give introductary trainings or to go over the business questionnaires with the small business owners individually. The most recent group that we visited, however, was in a quite different setting than the ones that I got used to so far. These people all lived in relatively modern and nice appartments in a group of very big appartment buildings near a community where we already had a group of beneficiaries before. The reason for this, as I heard from the local authorities, is that these people were evicted from their lands because of some new corporate developments in that area and in return they were given these new appartments to live in. From what I understood, most of the locals were actually rather satisfied with these new living circumstances, as I can imagine that their new homes are a lot more comfortable than the places where they used to live. It did feel quite strange to see the same type of people and businesses as I have seen here my entire stay in a much more modern surrounding though. But in the end, placing them in a different environment does not mean that their daily income and spending capacity for food and other basic necessities has also increased. So we could still do some useful work here. 

Apart from the daytime when all the volunteers were working on our different projects, the evenings in Phnom Penh also proved to be full of nice activities. One evening we went on a two-hour boat cruise with about a dozen people to see the city and the sunset from the river and also just to relax and have a drink with each other. There also have been two karaoke nights with our appartments because, well, we are in Asia. A lot of restaurants and bars here offer private karaoke rooms for 10-20 people where you can spend an evening singing, having fun and persuading other people to just sing at least one song. Next to that, the city also has a big mall where we could go in the evenings to look around in the shops, go to see a movie or play a game of bowling. Talking about movies, we also went to a small community movie theater once to see 'the killing fields'. The content of the movie contrasted sharply with the super cosy film room made up of couches and pillows, which we had for ourselves that evening. And ofcourse, last but not least, we had plenty of opportunities to go out for food and drinks because with so many volunteers coming and going to and from the appartments, there was always someone who had his or her last night or who had seen this specific restaurant where we really should go. I can't say that I got bored easily during the past 10 weeks!

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10 weeks alreadyhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/benluyten/read/437914/10-weeks-already
10 weeks already
 

Aug 18 - working for the Biologist from Ministry of Culture at Pikillacta   (published in Peru)

August 19, 2017 by   Comments(0)

First real day of rain - while not formally rainy season August gets about 5 days or so. Fridays are the volunteer days and we were introduced to the biologist at Pikillacta. Our task was to clear debris from the base of young trees that are part of a tree reforestation project that will also beautify Pikillacta. Other than the wet the work was dirty but not onerous. Coolest thing was when a scorpion came darting out from the underbrush of a tree I started(See pic) - high altitude or not I moved pretty fast to get out of the way. After some pics everyone was a bit more cautious with the cleaning. Led to me getting into a discussion with the supervisor - Dan- about whether there are scorpion iconography in Incan culture - a few google searches later - no, but there is in the Moche culture pre dating the Inca and from the North of Peru. It was a half day so with my free time I visited: Chocolate Museum, Catacombs of Templo de San Francisco, Casa de Garcilasco (regional history museum) and Museo Machu Pichu Casa Concha. Most didn't allow pictures but I'll post what I took. Some very interesting facts and artifacts. For Machu Pichu they've analysed the bones of the artisans at the Royal Palace ( what they have determined  Machu Pichu was) and concluded 65% of diet was corn supporting theory of it being a summer palace. Also saw a very neat demonstration of Incan musical instruments - pouring hugs were filled with corn beer and when titled made the sounds of the animals that the pouring container was made of.

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Aug 18 - working for the Biologist from Ministry of Culture at Pikillactahttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/kknibutat/read/437910/aug-18-working-for-the-biologist-from-ministry-of-culture-at-pikillacta
Aug 18 - working for the Biologist from Ministry of Culture at Pikillacta
 

Aug 17 - Volunteering at Machu Choquequirao Pujio   (published in Peru)

August 18, 2017 by   Comments(0)

We headed to Sacsayhuaman - where we did the walking tour last week. Freddie from the Ministry of Culture gave us our assignments - helping with 3 different excavations and weeding at the top of the complex (see pics) - we did shifts so everyone had time doing each. I started with the excavations and after helpiing haul muddy rocks out of the test pit for the retaining wall of the Incan terrace we continued with removing all the weeds and growth to reveal ansection of the retaining wall - kinda beat to see it unveiled but the work was hard - altitude is 200 M higher than Cusco and lots of dust from the grasses and roots. They discovered a number of artifac when digging the test pit - see pic of Incan whistle fragments. It was then up to the top of the complex - amazing views. Armed with a pair of garden shears our group spent the next several hours weeding the rocks. They are hopin g to develop this site as part of a new cir for tourists to both take some load off existing sites and create another source of revenue to support the archaeological sites. Headed into the city centre after working and visited the San Pedro Market to buy some snacks for Machu Pichu (recommended instead of taking time to buy over priced food at the site). Over 20k steps today - felt like they were all uphill. 

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Aug 17 - Volunteering at Machu Choquequirao Pujiohttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/kknibutat/read/437885/aug-17-volunteering-at-machu-choquequirao-pujio
Aug 17 - Volunteering at Machu Choquequirao Pujio
 

Aug 16 - getting "down" to digging   (published in Peru)

August 16, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Getting off the bus afforded an amazing reflective view of the mountain on the lake - see pic. After John and Dan(supervisor of all the volunteers) took some pictures of the dig with the first layer of soil removed we started to dig into the next "cap" or strata. It's quite an experience listening in stereo to 3 of the Italian volunteers talking away while Spanish can be heard from John/Dan and Adele sings on the iPhone of one of the DAmish volunteers - we also have volunteers from China/Japan/Germany/Canada/US/England. Our work involved carefully scraping away the soil looking for any artifacts and looking to level the square meter you were digging in. A lot of ceramics were found including part of a handle of a jug. One of the high school students found part of a jaw, with teeth of a small mammal. In addition to finding about a dozen pieces of pottery I was fortunate to find a polished quartz bead - considered unusual enough it got its own artifact bag. Speculation is it might have been some form of offering - often done before starting new construction by the Inca. Certainly made me feel like an archaeologist (in training)

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Aug 16 - getting "down" to digginghttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/kknibutat/read/437856/aug-16-getting-down-to-digging
Aug 16 - getting "down" to digging
 

Scuba Open Water Diver   (published in Fiji)

August 16, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Bula everyone,

It has been a long time since my first post. Mostly because of the bad internet connection in Fiji.

I'm proud to say that I'm now a Scuba Open Water diver and Padi Survey Diver, which means I'm allowed to participated with Survey dives in where we try to indentify fish, sharks and turtles. My data in later on used in Scientific Research. I was luckly to see 2 whitetip reef sharks, 4 hawksbill turtles, red snappers, humbback snappers, rainbow runners, a huge Napoleon fish and thousands of beautifull coral fish.

I have participated in mangrove planting, community surveys, cleaning dives (in which we collect garbage out of the reef) and BRUV research (Baited Remote Underwater Video).

This weekend, we go to Blue Lagoon in the sunny part of Fiji. This place is known for cave diving, snorkling and surfing.

 

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Scuba Open Water Diverhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/svexplorer/read/437851/scuba-open-water-diver
Scuba Open Water Diver
 

Aug 15   (published in Peru)

August 16, 2017 by   Comments(0)

The six new volunteers joined today making for a big group and standing room only on the bus ride to Pikillacta. We started with a tour of the small museum a short distance from our dig site. Surprisingly they have 2 dinosaur skeletons on display here. One found at Pikillacta which used to be a huge lake/marsh in prehistoric times and one found in Cusco sent here for display( see pics).

The dig progressed with finishing the measurements and then everyone focusing on the removal of the top layer of soil. Found five pieces of ceramics and had a good intro to identification of ceramics with John at lunch. Making progress.

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Aug 15https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/kknibutat/read/437831/aug-15
Aug 15
 

Het avontuur wacht, maar niet zo lang meer!   (published in Tanzania)

August 15, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Het leek telkens nog zo ver weg dat ik samen met Kiki naar Tanzania ga. Langzaam begint het nu toch echt door te dringen dat het eigenlijk nog maar een paar weken zijn, want het zijn niet eens 2 maanden meer! Dus nu wordt het echt tijd om weer wat voorbereidingen in te plannen wat vooral betekent veel info lezen, afspraak bij de huisarts, checklist nagaan, Volunteer Advisor mailen met vragen, etc. 

Volgende week begint voor Kiki het nieuwe schooljaar in groep 3 dus dan gaan we ook met de juf overleggen wat we er in de klas aan kunnen gaan doen. Gelukkig ken ik de nieuwe juf al een tijdje en weet ik dat zij ons avontuur helemaal ziet zitten dus dat komt wel goed. Verder wil ik nog op zoek naar wat tips om Kiki goed voor te bereiden en hoop ik van een ander gezin te horen hoe zij het bij het Maasai project hebben gehad. 

Vorige week hebben we in Frankrijk nog op de camping cakejes gebakken en verkocht voor het project. Die waren zo op en we kregen nog fooien :). De sponsoracties hebben bij elkaar niet heel veel geld opgebracht, maar dat was ook niet het doel: het was vooral erg leuk om samen te doen en goed voor de betrokkenheid. Misschien komt er nog een spontane actie. (Mocht je nog een bijdrage willen geven, kan dat via de fondsenwervingspagina).

Groetjes,
Lieke en Kiki 

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Het avontuur wacht, maar niet zo lang meer!https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/lieketerlouw/read/437823/het-avontuur-wacht-maar-niet-zo-lang-meer
Het avontuur wacht, maar niet zo lang meer!
 

Week 2 at Pikillacta   (published in Peru)

August 15, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Each day we go to Pikillacta starts with a bus ride of about 30 min which usually includes at one of the stops a woman hopping on the bus to sell loaves of bread. At the site we haul all the excavation supplies to a "base camp" and set up a tent to provide some shade for breaks and lunch.

Today there were 6 of us as one of the volunteers got an infection from a thorn in the leg while at Machu Pichu on the weekend. We started with cleaning weeds and debris from around all of the rocks so that we could start the mapping of the location of each rock in great detail. With the debris cleared it was easier to see the potential outline of where 2 walls  of buildings might be. While not all the mapping was completed in certain sections we were able to start to carefully remove the earth around the parts that might be walls to see whether there is more evidence to support this - having just started we're not sure yet. I did find my first piece of ceramics - John expects we will find a fair bit. Back at it tomorrow when we are joined by 6 new volunteers.

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Week 2 at Pikillactahttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/kknibutat/read/437804/week-2-at-pikillacta
Week 2 at Pikillacta
 

Pisac and back   (published in Peru)

August 15, 2017 by   Comments(0)

For Sunday I hired a cab to take me to the market at Pisac and then up to the Inca ruins. The market was huge and I likely covered only a third of it in 90 min. There is a good mix of touristy vendors, artisans and locals from the area selling food and produce. Haggling is expected and while I'm sure I didn't get the best deal i was getting the rhythm by the time I left. The Pisac ruins served multiple purposes for the Inca. The hike to the top of the watch tower is well worth the amazing view (see pics). A good half day trip.

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Pisac and backhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/kknibutat/read/437803/pisac-and-back
Pisac and back
 

Test Run   (published in Ghana)

August 14, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Hi there!

I'm still about two weeks out from my trip to Ghana, so unfortunately this post is going to be rather uneventful. I just wanted to make sure my family and friends are able to see this, as well as share how excited (and nervous, but mostly excited) I am! I'll be participating in the social work internship, and can't wait to learn more about my placement details. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Ghana, and am really looking forward to seeing it for myself. As of now, I've gotten all my shots and paperwork taken care of, so all that's left is to pack and start counting down the days.

 

-Fran

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Test Runhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/Fmleonard/read/437802/test-run
Test Run