Saturday 31 August 2013

Final blog

Thank you for reading the blog and for all the encouraging, positive comments that have been made.
Last day of summer school.
Since the last posting we have continued to have a challenging adventurous time, the day after completing summer school we headed off to the Simian Mountains, the views were breathtaking; we met a few Gelada Baboons, saw lots of different species of birds, walked in the pouring rain, sang guide songs round a camp-fire inside the huts, the evening came to a close singing ‘Taps’, slept in cold lodges and enjoyed eating pancakes for breakfast watching the sun rise. 
camp team & us

On Friday 21st we got up before sunrise, camp was being packed up around us while we enjoyed breakfast, walked to the coach and set off back to Yekit Hotel to pick up our main luggage.  The staff at Yekit greeted us like long lost friends, asking how the trip was, did we enjoy it etc.  The staff looked after us they went the extra mile to make sure our stay was as comfortable as they could make it.

Luggage loaded onto the coach we set off on the 3 hour drive to Bahr Dar, we arrived in the dark and pouring rain, not a good combination, we waited until the rain had stopped to unload the luggage, a light supper and an early night, we were all quite exhausted.
Tisisat Falls were gushing, the rains had increased the volume of brown water flowing over the gorge.
A boat trip to the monasteries, the source of the Blue Nile and Hippo spotting was on the programme for Sunday, we managed to see one lone Hippo as he came up for air, someone managed to get a good photo. We spotted a few papyrus reed boats, made using traditional methods.  The paintings on the church walls were very beautiful and well preserved.

Monday we said goodbye to Elsa, she has been looking after us while on the project, we would have been utterly lost without her advice & guidance.

Tuesday we flew to Addis, checked into the Ras Hotel.  We visited BGIFC (British Guides in Foreign Countries) at the Sandford School, we had a very enjoyable time with them, we taught them new songs and games.

Wednesday we visited the National Museum to see Lucy and had a relaxing time at the Hilton eating cake, ice cream and enjoying the hot spring pools.

The trip has made an impact on all our lives, we have gone through a whole gamut of emotions, we have laughed & cried together, we all have different special memories, one of the very special memories that will stay with me is the joy on the faces of the children every morning when they saw us, as our buses approached the road leading to the school, all the children would be waiting for us and as the buses came to a stop a great big cheer could be heard.
Four year old girls carrying water

At the bus stop.
We were doing so well with our luggage, nothing had been lost and the damage to suitcases has been minimal, that was until we got to Manchester on Thursday, my suitcase, was given an extended stay in Istanbul, the lady at the Baggage office said “it is not unusual for Turkish Air” great !!!  I was assured my case would be with me the following day, I was not to be concerned as it had been located.  Friday afternoon I needed to go out and telephoned to enquire as to what time it may arrive, I was given the couriers number, when I called they told me it would not be delivered until Monday, “MONDAY!” I exclaimed, “that is not good enough I want it delivering today”  they can’t do that as the luggage arrived too late yesterday for the overnight collection, and Turkish air will only pay for overnight delivery, I demanded the name & number of someone who can authorise delivery today, my Malarone tablets were in the case.  Eventually I spoke to the right person and my case was delivered at midnight on Friday, took the Malarone and went to bed.

Until our next trip

Monday 19 August 2013

Monday 19th August- Laura and Chloe

Today was the last day of Summer School. Most classes spent the first session finishing crafts and recapping work that we had done during the week. Clemy also did a dancing session with all of the children. Most of the children loved it (excluding older boys!) and had a great time doing the cha cha slide and Macarena! We then returned to our classrooms and the children went and made their handprints on the sheet before we gave them each a gift. The delight and excitement on each child’s face as they received a gift was wonderful for us to see. Most of them couldn’t believe that they keep the gifts and kept asking us if they were taking them home. In the afternoon we finished the trefoil garden and nearly completed the mural. Everyone worked really hard to make sure that everything was as close to finished as it could be. Then the afternoon downpour hit and we sat inside the classroom until the buses picked us up!

The laptops are going to the school tomorrow for good so we may not be able to blog for a while,
Bye for now!


Sunday 18th August- Alyx and Sophie


Yes, weekends are as exciting here as they are at home, so that means a lot of sleep and doing nothing. Most people had a much needed lie-in followed by a late breakfast, more lazing around and possibly some more sleep. We all had a late lunch in preparation for tonight’s outing to a traditional restaurant/nightclub. We were picked up at 6.30 for our journey into Gondar. On our arrival we were all a bit sceptical but soon found that the food was good and the dancing even better, particularly when they got some of us to join in, including the leaders. After a fun night we all went to bed tired but glad of the sleep the next morning.
Not as much lazing around on Sunday as we were going out for lunch to the Goha hotel. It was rather fancy and we all had a three course meal, including cake! We were all very excited when we heard there was cake. Came back to the hotel to discuss our final day on the project and how the closing ceremony would be conducted, we had to sort a lot of the stuff that is going to be donated to the school and the children. Many of us also had to sort out suitcases ready for our departure to the Simian Mountains on Wednesday.

Bye for now!

Alyx and Sophie

Friday 16th August- Amy and Megan

Half way through the trip today so we hope you are not missing us too much! It all began with the same carbohydrate ridden breakfast of toast and marmalade to our delight! My journey to the school was definitely interesting (Amy). Due to there not being enough seats, I sat in the front of the bus next to the driver on a fold out chair and spent the whole rather uncomfortable journey almost sat on our translator or having the gear stick rammed into my leg, to my disapproval!
We then began the penultimate day of Summer School with a fun filled day of education and craft. The children in our class (Megan, Amy, Clemy and Rachel) are beginning to become more talkative, this is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a great thing that the children feel comfortable around us to talk and laugh with their friends but on the flip side this also makes them harder to control! As a class we recapped all we had learned throughout the week, which included topics like animals, clothes, body parts, colours & shapes, places of the world and the alphabet. Being able to teach the children English is a really rewarding if slightly tiring task, as we know this is knowledge which will benefit them in years to come and it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to shape and hopefully improve these children’s lives through the Summer School and all the work we are doing on the project. 
This afternoon myself, Sophie, Chloe, Alex and Laura took it upon ourselves to tackle the gardening. In the previous days we created the trefoil outline and then created another flowerbed of the same shape but today was planting day. We were given two palm trees in which the roots had fused themselves to the bags they were in to my annoyance (Amy)! I therefore began to rip the bag off and after 20 minutes I had taken both of the bags off but was covered in mud even more so than usual!
Also on this afternoon’s agenda was painting the mural on the school building which had been chalked on the walls in the morning, it was good to complete a task and see it through from start to finish. The building now looks great with brightly coloured flowers, letters and educational pictures. However after an hour of intense work we were rained off by a torrential downpour that really reminded us we were here in the rainy season! The weather has been timed unfortunately for our work on the project but we have managed to persevere and are on course to finish the work that the school wants us to complete! (Megan)
When it rains it really does rain. We all took shelter in one of the classrooms but ended up with rain coming through the gaps for windows and had to put waterproofs on. After we finished we headed to a local house in the community to where we watched her make a traditional Ethiopian dish of endura and Alyx, Harriet, Emily and Rosemarie all had a go making it which was rather amusing but tasted good all the same!

It’s been another exhausting day here full of different challenges but we are persevering knowing that the opportunity we have is once in a life time (and we are home in 2 weeks back to carb free food!)  

14th + 15th August- Meg and Harriet, Clemy and Ione

CARBBBBBBBBBBBS, Hello everyone (when we all arrive home please refrain from the amount of carbs you feed us all! (With the exception of Warburton’s)) Day 2 on the project and we began to make our paper machie fishes having the youngest children (Harriet Meg Libby Millie) was a bit of a challenge! There was tissue paper and glue from wall to wall in the classroom but we had lots of fun alongside the children and their beaming faces. Our objective for the summer school is to teach the children the phonetic alphabet to help extended their English skills.  A a a a a a a a ANT B b b b b b BELLY C c c c c CAT (with actions I hope you can picture us all having a W w w w WHALE of a time) The children are all very happy and appreciate all of our work as much as we appreciate all their glee!  Furthermore work on the project is moving in a forward direction with cement, mud and paint galore! Well its goodbye for now from me (Harriet) I’m off to eat more tomato soup! It’s nearly as good as Heinz!
Well this is day 3 on the project and everything is still going good!!! We have had a great time again with the kids doing numbers and colours which was a challenge but it was great, we then made kites and let the children round up and down on the grass they seemed to have a great time. While we were having lunch the rain started but then it died down and we got working. Me (Meg) Millie and Harriet did the lower part of the school wall panting as we are the short ones in the group, IT WAS FUN GETTING COVERED IN PAINT!!!  When we were finished with the paint we then started to do some gardening which was very exhausting!! We then finished and got back to the hotel, where me, Harriet, Libby, Millie and Lucy are all dreaming about chocolate that we can’t have and thinking about the carbs we have been eating! Anyway time to get back to eating carbs and soup! By the way everyone is all good! :D From Meg 

Clemy and Ione!!!!

Hiiii Englanddddddddd! Today was a very emotional day for those getting results like myself (Clemy) but we were all staying strong!! Breakfast was a very nervous one!!!! Today we arrived at the school with the very smiley children once again!!  We had a very colourful day! Our t-shirts that the children had put elastic bands on for tie dying were ready to be dyed! Each group had a different colour, very bright! The morning went down very well, and break time included Catherine and Clemy singing a very energetic song to the children! They were very happy and were laughing!
The weather was fantastic to us! We got lots of things done for example we decided to paint the basecoat of the classroom and plan exactly what was going where. We were ready now to chalk out our design. We decided that Harriet and Ione were going to have tomorrow morning off to chalk out our design ready for us all to paint!! The day turned out very well, Chloe was in charge of the tie dying, dipping then and mixing the mixture, and Catherine, Hannah and some more helped by hanging the t-shirts out on the line to dry!!

When we got back to the hotel, it was very sunny!! We were all very hungry and ready for dinner! Dinner was lovely as usual! We then reflected about the day and how well it went, we talked about how strong we are all being and the fact some of us got results but we are all being strong about it all!!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Monday 12th August- Rachael and Lucy

Last night, there was an awful power cut which was really scary; there was loads of thunder and lightning but on the plus side, we saw an Ethiopian woman win the 10000 m in Athletics which was an exciting experience, literally everyone on the street ran into the hotel. When we worked up in the morning, the thunder had luckily subsided so it was safe for us to travel to the school. Unfortunately, on the way to the school we ran into difficulties as the supermarket didn’t stock Nutella which was a complete disaster. Luckily, we pulled through and managed to get to school with our oranges and bananas but later Emily had to get on public transport to retrieve the missing sandwich fillings (because we’re running a bit low on carbs at the moment). Summer school was a great experience but also fairly challenging due to the language barrier, especially the children’s habit of replying ‘yes’ to everything including ‘What is your name?’. The children are adorable though and took well to the programme, I was very pleased with how the day had went.  The bracelets were a bit tricky however, we had a few ‘interesting’ designs, it’s difficult to tell whether the children actually understand. It’s surprising how much English some of the children know, when you think about how rubbish we are at foreign languages (even us A level language students). I find the whole situation at school so interesting,  it really makes us appreciate what we have at home. (Rachael)

The teaching in the morning had been really good, especially once we had figured out how to talk to the children properly, being a floater it was really nice to be able to see all of the children. All of them were so excited and worked so hard at everything that they did. They also really enjoyed all of the English work, it’s such a change from schools in the UK where most kids don’t want to be at the school, every single one wanted to be there and everything that they learnt was interesting to them. We had a lunch, of yet more carbs and fruit, though the peanut butter was an extra surprise. And we’re supposed to start on the project work, only to have an absolute downpour of rain so we couldn’t hear a thing that was being said inside due to the tin roof. Once it subsided we got into different groups to start moving rocks, thinking of ideas for the mural and cementing the newest classroom. We set up a chain for the rocks and it ended with all of us covered in mud. The cementing was much harder than the women who were doing it made it look and barely any of us could do it. But the whole day had been productive and though all of us were tired and covered in mud we were so happy that the children had seemed to enjoy the day. (Lucy)

Sunday 11th August

Early mornings are becoming easier now we are getting more sleep, well some of us, some people will never find early mornings easy!
This morning, after another carby breakfast, we went to a castle which turned out to be made of three sections, each a bus drive away. There was a church, a castle and a huge swimming pool/bath type thing. At the church, harriet, who had been feeling slightly car sick, decided she was to be blessed by a holy man (with an unknown title) and so that happened. She is absolutely fine now. Our tour guide is amazing, he speaks impressive, self taught, English and knows an awful lot about everything. He told us about the history of the castle, and we helped him with some English and a little bit of knowledge about London and Great Britain.
The castle was the most interesting part; there were loads of historic rooms and a lion cage, which obviously we all had to climb in to take a group photo!( thanks Emily ). We also took one on the steps and the photographer from a large student group was so interested in what was going on that he had to take a photo as well. This did make us all laugh (as per).
At the pool, which was literally just a huge stone pit with a building in the middle, we learnt about the religious traditions surrounding the bathing routine of the Ethiopian people. So many people gathered to swim at a special time in the year that they had to build seating made out of, what Harriet likes to call, ‘bamboo scaffolding’, so that they didn’t get crushed or pushed in by the massive crowd. The seats feel safe...they don’t look it. Lunch was more carbs in the form of pizza and chips and various other small dishes.

Over all its been a good day but we are all ready and excited to start work at the school tomorrow.

Millie and Libby