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June 2011

The Final Countdown (nearly)   (published in Romania)

June 30, 2011 by   Comments(0)

30/06/11
Well I've been out of contact for four whole days now (gasp!!). Nothing else happened on Suday - not even dessert.
So that brings me to Monday.

27/06/11
I worked a full day on Monday. So I spent the morning just playing with the kids - unfortunately it rained all day (and hasn't really cleared up yet!!) so we were all inside all day. So the morning consisted mainly of the older kids watching DVDs and the younger ones playing in the day-room, although they did all sit down and watch a film together towards the end of the morning. Then the kids had their nap (I joined in, having had an unsettled night Sunday night). When Sarah arrived we started on a three day collage project. We have done a different section each day for three days - starting with a tree and flowers. The collage went down a storm with the older kids but seems a bit much for the younger ones - which is a shame. This was followed by cut-out snowflakes which the kids decorated with glitter glue - a big hit all round, due to the mess involved I think. We had intended to play with bubbles as well but as we were stuck inside this was not to be. It was nearly Jack's last night, so we threw some food down out necks and headed out to see him off in style - had a few drinks a local cafe then headed to the Billiards club (most people headed home after the cafe). But it was still a relatively early night.

28/06/11
I had a lazy morning - I popped into the office to do some admin and get money back for bus fare. Sarah and I met at the office and headed to Domino from there. So at work we continued the collage - moving onto a mountain with a 'Brasov' sign and people at the foot of the mountain - again, this seemed more popular with the older kids and the younger ones amused themselves. But we involved all the kids in making mobiles - which was ver popular and we even saw some of them run off to hang them over their beds. This was followed by more film watching then Sarah and I headed home. We headed home and threw food down our neck again and headed out for Jack's (real) last night. We started at the same cafe as the previous night - and had several drinks, then most of the group headed out clubbing, but Sarah and I headed home early (which was as shame) as we both had full days and early starts the next day.

29/06/11
Worked another full day, there was more rain though so the kids were stuck inside all day again. Nothing new in the morning - more films and more play. But we finished the collage in the afternoon when Sarah arrived - we did a farm field, complete with farmer, horse and cart and sun in the sky. This went down a storm with all the kids - I think because there was lots of painting to do so they could all join in. We also did butterfly painting (paint one side and fold it to print onto the other) which was very popular. So we headed home and had dinner (at a fairly leisurely pace) then popped out for dessert with Li and Arianna (as it was Arianna's last night). We also met Li's brother and sister - which was ver exciting!! They both lovely and really easy to get along with.

30/06/11
I had a lay-in but was out by 11am to meet Dani as I was heading to a local holiday club that was in need of some help for a few hours. We helped the kids here make shakers - as much of a hit at the holiday club as it was at Domino!! And we got lots of lovely pics of the kids and of me working with them. Headed home for a few hours, then back out to Domino. We were greeted most enthusiastically - mainly due to the armfulls of presents we had with us (courtesy of Sarah going shopping with Dani). We then set the kids to work on rainbow pictures - which was fairly successful and watched a film again, as there was more rain and it was cold again. We also helped them to decorate biscuits for their snack - which as you can imagine was very popular!!

So that brings you up to speed with my hectic life!! I shall update but once more before I'm home - hopefully on Monday morning at some point - and then when I get home just to draw in the loose ends and let you all know that I get home safely. Big love, over and out. Xxx

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The Final Countdown (nearly)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/ldavies2/read/104026/the-final-countdown-nearly
The Final Countdown (nearly)
 

Dirty Thursday at Domino Children’s Shelter (by Brittany Crockett, current journalism volunteer, Canada)   (published in Romania)

June 29, 2011 by   Comments(0)

 

On June 23, the Projects Abroad volunteers and I took the day off to work even harder than usual.  Nine of us from all programs —Isabelle de Cure-Ryan, LiMin Teng, Lucy Davies, Sarah Peters, Jack Theis, Evelyn Appleby, Nazim Ahmad and Brittany Crockett— slathered on our sunscreen at the bus stop and set off to Domino Children’s shelter, donated brushes and wire scrubbers in hand, to give their front gates and garden wall a much-needed fresh coat of paint.  It took nine of us, plus the care and teaching projects supervisor Dani Cristea and a few of the older children, most of the day to scrub off the old paint and grime and finish the wall in a cheerful red and white.   We even (mostly) managed not to get red paint all over the white parts or vice versa!

 

The shelter provided a delicious picnic spread and fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls to keep us going through the hot afternoon.  They also allowed us to tour their well-maintained facilities and explained the work they do there, taking in abused and homeless children until they can either be returned to their families or placed in a permanent home.  Painting one fence doesn’t seem like much in the face of the realities that the staff and children at Domino’s deal with every day, but the volunteers who work on the care project at the centre told me that after we had gone home, the staff asked them to pass on their sincere thanks.  By donating what was, for me, just one sunny Thursday, we were able to make a noticeable, immediate difference and accomplish something the shelter staff didn’t have the time or resources to do themselves.  We finished the day paint-splattered and a little sunburnt despite our best efforts, but with a definite sense of accomplishment.

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Dirty Thursday at Domino Children’s Shelter (by Brittany Crockett, current journalism volunteer, Canada)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/102615/dirty-thursday-at-domino-childrens-shelter-by-brittany-crockett-current-journalism-volunteer-canada
Dirty Thursday at Domino Children’s Shelter (by Brittany Crockett, current journalism volunteer, Canada)
 

The Good, the bad and the Dirty   (published in Romania)

June 26, 2011 by   Comments(0)

26/06/11
And here I am again!! But only one day late this time. :).
Just to keep you in the loop - Wednesday at Domino was lovely. We continued the animal theme and gave the kids playdough to sculpt animals out of, which was simple but enough to amuse them for quite a while - and none of them tried to eat it!! We also played the memory game with animal figures for a while. After work we came home and had a chilled, relaxing night.

23/06/11
So we had a pretty manic day Thursday. We did what is called a 'Dirty Event', which is where all the volunteers from the different projects get together and take part in some form of community based activity. As it happened the event was at Dominio - we helped to scrub down, de-rust and repaint their front wall and railings. We all had a laugh and a lovely lunch in the middle - although it was very hot as we worked right through from 10am until 4pm, and i got tan lines from my flip-flops!! So when we finished Sarah and I stayed for work - no rest for the wicked. Due to lack of organization we had to replan last minute and so we helped the kids make pom-poms and gave them pipe-cleaners and googly eyes to turn them into spider - which was very popular and caused much amusement. And we made rice shakers - another source of great amusement, although it was very loud as well. As you can imagine by the time I got home ( I actually left and hour early) I was shattered so we all popped out for dessert - an occurrence which seem to be getting ever more frequent and had another chilled evening.

24/06/11
I had a lovely long lay-in on Friday then went resources shopping and had lunch before heading to Domino. We gave the kids picture frames to decorate with crepe paper, pipe-cleaners, beads and buttons 9the results of which can be seen on facebook and were all generally very nice) and they drew pictures to go into the frames. We were then thrown into limbo because Sarah suffered a nasty nose bleed and went home early. This meant that the staff were a little preoccupied and I need to attempt to explain the situation, by the time it had all settled I decided there was not enough time to do the last activity for the day - painting butterflies by printing one side onto the other, which was a shame as the kids would have loved it. We then went out for dinner as it was Camilla's last official night before she went backpacking for a week. We had a lovely dinner in a relatively pricey restaurant and then a few of us went for fondue and headed home for another early night (I don't know what's happening to me!)

25/06/11
Saturday commenced with another lie in. Sarah and I had originally planned to go to Rasnov (a local village) in the morning and head to Bran in the afternoon. However, we looked out of the window when we woke up and it was raining, hard! Sarah has had an awful cold so decided not to go and I wasn't particularly interested in Rasnov so we had a lazy morning and I headed out to meet some other volunteers at Bran in the afternoon. We mainly went to visit 'Dracula's Castle' (aka Bran Castle). It was very nice to see but (as you may expect) there is little evidence of any vampiric activity and we did not meet anyone called Igor, Ivan or anything vaguely creepy/related to Bram Stoker's Dracula. we did a little souvenir shopping and headed home for dinner then out for dessert and a chilled night in - but not particularly early.

26/06/11
Well that brings me to today - I have done very little. Had a nice long lay-in pottered around and chatted to Li about how to get to Sibieu (the's not how you spell it) - another old town near Brasov. Went into town for some 'essentials and ended up buying a new dress, oops! Might have a little nap then not sure what the plans are for tonight - but they probably involve going out for dessert. :)
Love and hugs, over and out!! Xxx

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The Good, the bad and the Dirtyhttps://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/ldavies2/read/100324/the-good-the-bad-and-the-dirty
The Good, the bad and the Dirty
 

A Visit to Sunny Transylvania (by Evelyn Appleby, current journalism volunteer)   (published in Romania)

June 22, 2011 by   Comments(0)

 

 

 

Flat, green, and hot. Those were the first things impressed on me when, after fifteen hours of travel, I forced myself to wake up and peer out the window of the plane as it descended into Bucharest.  After receiving a warm welcome, I embarked on a drive to Brasov and watched the landscape change. The city gave way to smaller towns, and the flat, green expanse rose into greener mountains. It’s easy to imagine the little villages as they were in the past, isolated without the highway and inhabited by people who lived their lives in accordance with the ancient traditions of their village, their family, and their church.

            I had few expectations of Romania when I arrived, and it soon became clear that Romania is a country that wears its past on its sleeve. We drove past people plowing fields with horses and cutting hay with scythes, traditional methods of farming that have fallen out of favor elsewhere. The mountain valleys are scattered with medieval towns and villages, surrounding little rivers and rising up the steep slopes.

In Brasov, the various eras of Romanian history are most evident. The walled Saxon town, Kronstadt, is now the city center of Brasov. The cobbled streets and medieval houses of the old city look like they belong in fairy tales. The Black Church looms above Council Square, as it has for centuries. Outside the old city, Brasov bears unmistakable evidence of Romania’s Communist era in the nearly identical block-style buildings of grey concrete lining the streets.

My friendly hostess immediately set me at ease and made me feel welcome. Although she does not speak English, her hospitality was communicated perfectly.  After a fantastic dinner, I went out to become better acquainted with my new neighborhood.

Being surrounded by so much history was a bit of a shock to me. I found myself walking past buildings that had already been standing for centuries before Europeans settled the New World at all. In my hometown, any structure still standing from the frontier days two hundred years ago is considered to be impressively historic.  We have no castles, no churches built to withstand sieges, no fortified villages.

Despite the obvious trappings of the past, Romania seems to be a nation that is looking toward the future. Modern conveniences like cell phones, fast food, and brand-name clothing from Western Europe and the U.S. are advertised everywhere, and shiny new cars zoom down the streets. Young city dwellers and foreign tourists alike can be seen enjoying the nightlife in Brasov’s varied bars and restaurants.

When I told my friends and family that I was going to visit Romania for two months, most of them were skeptical. Many Americans’ main idea when I mentioned Romania to them was Romania’s time under Communism (although some were more familiar with Dracula), and unfortunately they are not aware of the state of modern Romania.  Some people told me that I would not enjoy my time here—it would be too dark, too gloomy, there may not be internet access, I might be robbed, I wouldn’t like the food, etc. I am glad that my experiences so far have proved them wrong. I have found beautiful places, lovely weather, and friendly people, and I look forward to exploring more of this fascinating country.

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A Visit to Sunny Transylvania (by Evelyn Appleby, current journalism volunteer)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/98612/a-visit-to-sunny-transylvania-by-evelyn-appleby-current-journalism-volunteer
A Visit to Sunny Transylvania (by Evelyn Appleby, current journalism volunteer)
 

Buildings, Food, People. Amazing Brasov (by Nazim Ahmad, current Journalism volunteer)   (published in Romania)

June 22, 2011 by   Comments(0)

 

After a tired night of last minute packing and printing some travel documentations, I woke up bright and early to catch my flight from Heathrow to Bucharest. It was a relief to finally make the trip after months of planning.My flight to Bucharest took me approximately 3 hours and I was not expecting much; although it would have been better if the seat was declinable!  I had the first taste of what would be my dishes for a month, the Romanian food. It has a very unique flavour compared to the rest of Europe and it was very delicious.


My arrival at the immigration desk in Otepeni airport was somewhat terrifying for me. Most of the passengers on the plane were Romanians and as such I was the only foreign traveller. My passport picture was checked countless of times for matching facial identification; I remember the female officer even used a magnifying glass! After answering a few questions and a couple of doubting glimpses from her, I was let off to collect my checked in luggage and to start my experience.


All the bags arrived on time, and after collecting mine, I swiftly went out of the hall into the arrivals foyer which was full of taxi drivers and families. My time at the this area was  unexpectedly pleasant considering the fact that I was stuck with no telephones, or knowledge of any Romanian language and as I wasn’t able to spot Alex; the person whom I was informed would be picking me up. After waiting for about 10 minutes, I managed to spot Alex in the crowd with the Projects Abroad place card.


Our drive to Brasov was pretty long although it wasn’t dull or boring, as Alex and I were talking about the typical Romanians’ likes and dislikes, music and even their driving habits. We arrived at his house about a quarter to midnight, and we had some traditional Romanian eggplant salad which I was told is only available during the summer.  It is complemented with bread and a piece of chicken fillet which made it even more delicious.


The first day of my experience here consisted of an induction walk tour with lunch.We had a long walk from Alex’s house to the Projects Abroad’s office downtown and after viewing the place we then headed for the short walk tour of the Brasov town centre. The buildings in this area of Brasov; in particular the StradaRepublici ismagnificent. The roads reminded me of London, and the buildings had a Germanic architecture. The downtown central square which also boasted a fountain is a reminiscent of Prague with small coffee shops and pubs all over.


We had lunch at Sergiana, a famous traditional restaurant that was situated on this historical street. I was impressed with the variety of dishes that were available but as I didn’t understand any Romanian, I had to ask Alex to explain about a few of the dishes to me and he recommended me to get the chicken stew with bread. The dish had a very strong flavour with lots of tomatoes and gravy which complemented the bread really well. For the incredibly cheap price that we paid, it was unbelievable that the dishes were big.


The day ended with a walk back home and I have to say, I am truly looking forward to more splendid experiences in this beautiful country.

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Buildings, Food, People. Amazing Brasov (by Nazim Ahmad, current Journalism volunteer)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/98609/buildings-food-people-amazing-brasov-by-nazim-ahmad-current-journalism-volunteer
Buildings, Food, People. Amazing Brasov (by Nazim Ahmad, current Journalism volunteer)
 

Brasov: Both Medieval and Modern (by Brittany Crockett - current Journalism Volunteer)   (published in Romania)

June 22, 2011 by   Comments(0)

 

 

It feels like a cliché to say that Brasov was not what I expected, and maybe that’s not the right way to put things.  Before I left Canada, I tried very hard not to have expectations; I read my guidebook, of course, and researched images of the city and other volunteers’ experiences, but I very deliberately tried to avoid imagining what it might be like to live and work in Brasov.  I told myself that this was because I wanted to start out my placement with an open mind, but maybe it would be closer to the truth to say that I wanted to avoid being disappointed.


Whatever the case, I needn’t have worried — in my first three days here, Brasov has been anything but a disappointment.  I have found myself surprised by the contrast between the modern attitude of the Romanians that I meet on the bus, where everyone seems busy and fashionable, texting on their iPhones, and the centuries-old beauty of Republicii street and the Piaţa Sfatului.  I can’t imagine any other city in the world has such a beautifully preserved medieval centre where it is so easy to find an ATM.  It’s a foreign feeling for me, but a welcome one, to be able to walk in twenty minutes past forward-looking, modernist apartment blocks and electronics stores as well as cobbled squares full of fountains.  My first few days have been a whirlwind of doing exactly this—walking—trying to find my feet while settling in at my host’s home, meeting the other volunteers, and getting some sleep in between.


Almost more than the excitement of fitting myself in to such a vibrant lifestyle, though, I am dying to take some time to myself to find the quieter side of Brasov, to just walk through the parks and maybe wander into the Black Church.  I have been to cafés and clubs, gone cell phone shopping and even, incongruously, gone to a children’s ballet recital, but I feel as if I have yet to experience the other, more historical half of what I see all around me.

 

Brasov will be my home for the next two months, which looks like a long time on paper and which will, I know, feel like a very short time indeed.  In that short time, I am determined to experience as much of this city as I can.  I want to really live here, as a connected part of a modern city, and I am sure that my work with Projects Abroad will help me achieve that.  But Brasov is such a beautiful place that I can’t help but want to be a tourist as well, to experience all of the sights and the cultural interactions that make Brasov a city different from any other I will ever visit.

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Brasov: Both Medieval and Modern (by Brittany Crockett - current Journalism Volunteer)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/romania-social-manager/read/98557/brasov-both-medieval-and-modern-by-brittany-crockett-current-journalism-volunteer
Brasov: Both Medieval and Modern (by Brittany Crockett - current Journalism Volunteer)
 

Busses, Beaches and Many Nights Out!!   (published in Romania)

June 22, 2011 by   Comments(0)

22/06/11

Well, yet again I seem to have neglected to be in touch for  few days - sorry!!

18-19/06/11

So we went to Constanta (a town on the Black Sea coast) at the weekend. We were actually only there for a day and a half(ish). We had a 7 hour bus journey at 2am Friday night and arrived in Constanta at about 9/10am Sat morning. So we spent the remainder of the day relaxing and recouping on the beach - very hot but very nice!! We then trouped out for lunch and back to the hostel we were staying in for showers and naps before going out with the other hostel customers and the staff for drinks at a cafe and a noght time beach hang out. So we all over-slept Sunday morning which meant that, as Sarah, me and 2 other volunteers were getting an earlier bus home due to early starts (for them) and limited cash (for me) we didn't have time to do much sight-seeing which was a great shame. So we headed home and got an early night - for once!!

20/06/11

So this brings us to Monday, which had more or less the same structure as my other days - nice layin, bit of resources shopping and general look round town, home fir lunch and bus to work. At Domino we gave the kids DIY animal puppets to make and play with in the Puppet theatre - which went down a storm!! We trouped home and had dinner the popped out to meet some new volunteers who arrived while we were away over the weekend.

21/06/11

I worked a full day at Domino. So the morning consisted of simply playing in the garden with the kids as I had no planned activities. Then lunch and settle the kids for the afternoon nap. Sarah came at 4 - and we realied we had a huge amount of prep to do - which set us behind. But the kids loved our activity so it was worth it. We helped them to make animal masks, either cat, dog or chicken although some of the 'dogs' look more like rabbits due to the placement of the ears. We had also intended to play with animal shadow puppet with the kids but ran out of prep time  - so this has been shuffled to fit in today. So we playe with the kids, they had dinner nd we went home. It was Li's birthday so we went out for dinner straight from work and looking rough!! We then headed home to change and hit up the town. :). It was a great night - even onlimited funds (times not to be specified - you wouldn't believe me if I told you!).

22/06/11

So that brings me to today - but I havn't done much yet! I need to do prep for Domino and go into town to replace my sim as I lost my phone on the way home from Constanta - luckily Sarah has a spare handset that she said I can use so I only need to get another sim. So I guess I should go and be productive now. Will update again soon - hopefully Friday/Saturday. Much love, over and out. Xxx

 

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Busses, Beaches and Many Nights Out!!https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/ldavies2/read/98470/busses-beaches-and-many-nights-out
Busses, Beaches and Many Nights Out!!
 

We're half way there :)   (published in Romania)

June 17, 2011 by   Comments(1)

17/06/11
Well I appear to have neglected to update for 3 or 4 days. Outside of work not much has happened, apart from a big night out on Tuesday - which resulted in insufficient sleep and me feeling like a zombie all day Wednesday. I spent the whole day at Domino on Wednesday, so by the time I got home I was shattered (as you can imagine) and I slept like a log. We also had a group of four new children arrive at Domino on Wednesday morning - it seems a shame because they don't seem to have much understanding of why they have been taken from their families, I imagine it's all very confusing and daunting, I also think it was quite embarrassing for them as well because the staff shaved their hair off (as a precaution against lice, I think) whilst all the other children stood around and watched.

We've done lots of exciting things with the kids this week - friendship bracelets, bean bag games, blind mans buff, concertina people for them to colour, ad lots of other things all of which went down a storm!! The kids all seemed really keen on the bean bags - which was great because they took a considerable amount of effort to make. Some of the younger kids even discovered you could use them as shakers - a source of endless amusements.

And so yesterday i had a lovely lay in and went shopping for resources (again) and pottered arund at home. At Domino we gave the kids concertina people to colour in as part of the friendship theme we like to think we're working on this week - whether or not the kids have noticed there's a theme is a different matter. We then got out the paints and crepe paper and made a puppet theatre with the kids that we hope to finish and start to use today - Sarah brought all manner of DIY puppet sets for us to use today and monday. So that brings me to today - which has pretty much followed the same pattern as most other days - nice lay-in, go to the office and into town scouting for supplies, home for lunch then off to Domino. And we are of to the Black Sea cost this weekend - which means getting a 7 hour bus at 2am tonight - but it should be worth it just for the social side - all of the locally based volunteers are going, so there's a group of about 10 of us all getting the bus together - although me and Sarah are getting an earlier bus back due to money and work arrangements. So that's about it, I shall update again ASAP and pictures from the weekend will be up soon as well. Big love and hug, over and out. :). Xxx

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We're half way there :)https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/ldavies2/read/95314/were-half-way-there-
We're half way there :)
 

What a Manic Few Days!!   (published in Romania)

June 14, 2011 by   Comments(0)

Well, its been a few days since I last updated. I believe that  last post was Saturday. We went out Satuday night (despite the poring rain) and partied hard - I think it was 3.30am by the time we made it back home!! o as you can imagine we slept in quite late on Sunday - I think we all serviced at about 3pm. However the rest of the day was fairly productive - for Sarah and I at least. We managed to plan activities and games to do with the kids at Domino for every day that we're there. We just need to buy resources now. 

14/06/11

So that brings me to yesterday - and what a day!! The sun returned, and I managed to wear a t-shirt and shorts. As it was a religious holiday Sarah didn't have to work at the nursery - so we decided to fill the sapre time by doing some local tourist attractions. We had intended to take the cable car upto the 'Brasov' sign - bu tit didn't open until the after noon. So we walked al around the city's old (Saxon, I think) fortifications - there are far to many hills and steep steps to mention in relation to this but notably the step upto the 'White Tower' which seem never ending on the way up - we ignored the waring in my guide book that said don't attempt unless you are feeling very fit and as a result our legs were like jelly by the time we made it to lunch!! So after lunch we quickly fitted in some resources shopping so we had some activities to do with the kids when we got to Domino. We started with the 'Mummy' game, which was great fun for the kids - although some of the younger ones seemed a little baffled by the goings on. We then showed the kids how to make plastic cup telephones which was the source of a few hours amusement for all the kids and finally we did a 3-legged race wich all the kids loved - even though most of them watched, I think we'd tired them out a little by then!! They then played outside untill we left, we headed home and joined the other girls in our flat for dinner then we all had a lazy night. So that's the long and short of it. Big love, speak soon, over and out! Xxx

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What a Manic Few Days!!https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/ldavies2/read/93112/what-a-manic-few-days
What a Manic Few Days!!
 

Just a P.S.   (published in Romania)

June 11, 2011 by   Comments(2)

11/06/11

We had great fun doing the textured painting with the kids yesterday!! It was lovely for them to have something to do - although the younger ones did need a hand getting cleared up and one little girl had to change her sweater because she got paint all up her arms. :). When we got home we had dinner and went into town for a few drinks. We all crashed out after and didn't get up until 10 this morning. So we pottered around and got ready to meet Michiell and Jack (other volunteers) for lunch, then we wandered around town and did some shopping and had a look at a festival thats going on in town with live music ect. :). We are out again tonight, then Sarah and I are hoping to spend tomorrow planning activities to do at Domino next week. Love to all, over and out. Xxx

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Just a P.S.https://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/ldavies2/read/91820/just-a-ps
Just a P.S.