From the girl who stole him and your heart at the same time.

I’m sorry to you from the bottom of my heart,
I never wanted to be the reason why you were torn apart,
It wasn’t my choice for him to depart,
Although I take the blame, sweetheart.

Firstly I’d like to apologise to you,
As I cant deny I knew he was going out with you,
The day I met him and fell in love as our conversation flew,
I couldn’t help myself but think he’s the future id love to pursue.

Please don’t ever think he was unfaithful,
Because we both thought that behaviour was disgraceful,
Even though falling in love with me whilst he was with you was shameful,
We tried, but you cant deny something that is fateful.

Him and I became best friends before lovers,
Lovers after the truth was uncovered,
I promise before then we never laid a hand on each other,
I apologise because this truth you may have only now discovered.

I’m sorry if you assumed he was going behind your back,
We were friends and tried to work out ways for you both to stay intact,
We even cut ties at one point because we couldn’t detract,
Our minds from growing fondly attached.

He told me your relationship was like a childhood romance,
But I never asked how you felt about him, I never gave you the chance,
If you loved him, I wish id have known in advance,
Before loading you with this devastating circumstance.

I hate myself for hurting the innocent girl you were,
I made you grow up because of the fate that occurred,
If there could’ve been a different outcome, that I would prefer,
But a love so strong is impossible to deter.

When I see you now you slyly stare at me,
I know what you are doing, comparing our qualities,
Your battling with the demons, why her, not me,
Don’t ever put yourself down, you were just not meant to be.

I never want you to feel less than perfect,
One day you will be happy, in retrospect,
When you meet someone in which you reflect,
You will realise how you two just weren’t correct.

Please know we waited months after you, before we came official,
Even though we wanted to be together we thought it was uncivil.
We knew the rest of our lives would be blissful,
If only we didn’t have to hurt you in the process, oh how wishful.

But we know you knew about us anyway,
Because a love like this is hard to downplay,
Our eyes were the things that gave us away,
But for you, it wasn’t until months later we put it on public display.

Please know that I will never forgive either of us for what we put you through.
But please also remember falling in love is not a choice.

Tribes Man

I’m a tribes man born and raised,
Please don't tell me how to spend my days! 
Coming in with your western views,
Don't Because that's not the life I choose. 

I'm a man I was raised to hunt, 
But your killing my culture to be blunt. 
Taking the animals away from us, 
Trying to make our lives adjust. 
To be more like you, 
Can't you see we don't want to!
I know you think it's wrong what we do, 
But to be fair it's not up to you! 
You're coming on to my land,
Taking what you want can,
Don't you see the effects it has on my clan! 
You're leaving us with nothing to do, 
So you think we should bow down to you!
Take the jobs you've created, 
With our land which you've updated! 
Which basically means you turned into a tourist trap, 
Selling us with the gift wrap!
We've turned into circus men, 
People paying to see us as and when!
You telling us to perform our traditions, 
In order to get commission,
We no longer do it for us, 
We do it for the shuttle bus!
Can't you see, 
You're the one who did this to me? 

You're the one that's turned my clan to alcohol,
You're the one that's turned my clan to money, 
You're the one whose destroyed our traditions, 
You're the ones who've destroyed our visions. 

Why can't you see that your not superior, 
We're not inferior,
We're just different from you, 
And taking that away from us is not up to you. 
We don't want to be the same as the rest of the world, please try and not making us unfurl. 

I cant speak for everyone as we see westerners as rich, 
Many people would love to switch!
Have food on the table and water at their beck and call, 
But those people they don't speak for us all. 

Why don't you ask us what we desire, 
Instead of changing us and giving us what you think we require. 
You're not us, you've never actually lived like us,
So how do you know what works for us and what needs to adjust? 
Lack of communication and lack of consideration, too much dictation and not enough beneficial donation, which would form the foundation, we would get to keep our location with a bit of negotiation and less adaptation equals less agitation. Maybe we need some more education and sanitation but with our invitation , and your observation by living in this  population we can come to transformation that suits everyone and we will be a happy African nation!

Hope

I can't believe in Haiti they eat dirt cookies, 
But have you heard that on the news or in the latest movies? 
Those people are relying on the rain,
To help grow their grain, 
When we're just wasting water,
Without a second thought.
If the harvest fails, 
You'll ignore their wails, 
Too far away to care,
How an earths that fair?
We all have human rights, 
So why don't westerners put up fights? 
We are capable of helping where we can, 
I don't get why some people don't want to lend a hand? 
I know the worlds corrupt, 
But why don't we stand up? 
We can make a difference, 

If the destruction of this was truly displayed,
It would make everyone hopefully want to provide aid,
I know most of you think you’ll be betrayed, 
Your money will never make it, so you’re afraid. 
But what if we give it to trust worthy people, 
One’s who are proved not to be deceitful, 
Surely they aren't too hard to find,
We just need to spend some time. 
Take some time out of our selfish lives, 
A minute could make someone survive. 
Even if you have little you have something to give, 
Old clothes, utensils anything that can help them live. 
Money doesn't have to be the sole vision, 
Its up to you what you give, its completely your decision. 

I’m someone who has experienced it first hand, 
I’ve visited these place I've spent money and planned, 
Gone to see what these people really need, 
And it just highlighted westerners greed. 
Theres people in the world who have nothing, 
Yet I’ve found them to be the most loving!
The most hospitable and happy people, 
I just wish they could have the same opportunities, I wish it was equal. 
Im not saying people in my native land aren't needing help too, 
But they’ve got the strength of others to helpfully pull through.
Some people tell me to help my own before helping others, 
But a lot of people here can help themselves, or have help from brothers. 
Theres organisations, shelters and soup kitchens, 
They might not help them all but at least thats there missions.
I’m talking about communities, villages all dying, 
Not individuals, people who were ignoring, were not even trying. 
As a country what do we do? 
Not enough or we could help them through. 

Please join me on this conquest, 
Thrive and make helping people a contest. 
We love challenges in this society, 
Why not add aid in to the picture to get some more variety.
An equal world where people no longer feel hunger pains,
and don't have to pray for the rains. 
Lets unite,
Become one. 

Refugee – To Mumma

Mumma please find a new home for me,
Somewhere like Syria before, where I was extremely happy,
I know there were bombs going off permanently,
And I understand it was only safe to flee.

They took away everything from us, 
Including lives, schools, homes and trust. 
I don’t understand why we were caught in the fuss, 
And now our lives have been made to accordingly adjust. 

I miss how easy my life was before, 
My mind never knew of this disastrous thing called war.
But those memories are something I have to ignore,
As they spark my eyes to weep and pour.

Now hear us children, hear our song,
What did we ever do that was so wrong, 
We’ve tried our hardest in school all year long, 
Why do we have to act so strong?

I didn't like being scared, 
But I was lucky to have a soldier like you that cared, 
I know we were caught off guard and unprepared, 
But now we need help to get our lives repaired. 

I know before we could survive on our own, 
We could buy our own bread and our stomachs never moaned. 
We've been left with nothing since we became part of the dropping zone, 
I wish we could've been just left alone. 

I know we've exceeded our shop credits, 
And this outcome has made you feel purely pathetic, 
But Mumma we know its not your fault and its something you cant edit, 
I would do anything to help you forget it.

I know you feel guilty asking anyone for aid, 
Stop being proud because it will take my pain away,
All we've got to live in are these tents which are frayed, 
One day you can repay all this kindness, one day you'll have your job back, the one where you got paid. 

The one I feel for is my little sister, 
She's disabled and because of the lack of medical help her skins starting to blister, 
I keep holding her close, to hug and kiss her,
because soon I know I'm going to really really miss her. 

Mumma I know you wish you could do more for the little one, 
But your my super hero, you sheltered us from the guns, 
Not everyones been so lucky since this war has begun,
I know thats why you feel like they’ve already won. 

I hear you cry yourself to sleep
But I can’t help to watch and peep.

We’ll always be stood by you, 
You don’t have to hide your pain like you do. 

Don’t blame yourself mum, 
Because of you, look how far we’ve come! 
See what our family has managed to escape from, 
I only wish now our pain could be numbed.

Mumma remember you are my super hero
You’ve won this war infinity to zero!

Unforgiveable Sin

This world for some is so tough,
We keep spending money on useless stuff,
When there's kids out there dying,
Crying in poverty in need of surviving.
We keep buying to impress, 
Trying to look good in that new dress,
But a woman far away is really in need,
She's had no new clothes since 1993.
Her clothes are dirty tattered rags, 
When you're there buying new bags, 
Think of her in the ripped clothes, 
Don't tell me you know the pain she knows.
It's cold she has no place to stay, 
When you're planning your next holiday away,
Go somewhere beautiful and warm,
When she's wishing she could find a home for her baby who's about to be born. 
She's scared she has nothing to eat,
When you're planning your next meal to defeat,
She scrapes through bins to find a crumb, 
And the whole time your pretending to be numb. 
Ignoring the reality in the world we live in, 
To me that is an unforgivable sin. 


Its unforgivable to me, ignoring the reality, 
Its unforgivable to me, ignoring brutality
Its unforgivable to me, ignoring morality. 
Its unforgivable to me, as its just plain irrationality.
 
Why aren't we helping other fight illness and disease, 
Well were hoping to fit into a smaller pair of jeans.
Why don't we try and educate them, find out their needs, 
Instead were too busy checking our news feeds. 
Why don't we help them generate some income, 
Instead were too busy trying to bag our next lump sum.
Why don't we help countries reach their development potential, 
Instead were outside buying more non essentials. (LIKE TAMPONS HAHA)
Why don't we see this illnesses and disease, 
imposes high cost burdens on these families, 
If we help them generate some money, 
It will help higher their life expectancy.

 

Child Soldier

They've put a gun in his hand,
Telling him to fight for his land.
Killing people on demand,
And the pain he has to withstand. 

He's only a fourteen,
He’s already haunted by the sights that he's seen,
The destruction he's caused with this mighty machine,
The fact he's made to do this to me seems obscene. 

Tell me how's it right?
Tell me how's it fair? 
Making a child fight for your warfare

Tell me why its easier to get guns than water?
I see that little girl digging for hours in the well, please don't tell me she is your daughter?
Bringing in the necessities whilst you go out and slaughter,
Is this really the life you wish you could've taught her?

But yet, all of you men have guns in hand, 
Tell me how you get those on demand,
Whilst theres not even enough food to stop hunger in your land?
Your family dying in front of you first hand. 

Yet in the eye of the beholders,
You’ve made your little boys into soldiers?

Tell me how's it right?
Tell me how's it fair? 
Making a child fight for your warfare!

He's growing up with your views,
The ones telling him that he can't lose.
He's got to take these lives,
In order to survive,
His childhood robbed from underneath his eyes.

It’s gone too far now he will never recover, 
The child he used to be he will never rediscover, 
Although he's content now with his surrogate mother, 
What happened to his real family, where is his brother?

He no longer feels like he fits in with society, 
Everything he's been through its given him bad anxiety,
He replays the horrors in his head thats why he sits so silently,
How can he live a normal life after he's acted so violently. 

Holding a gun became the norm, 
He’s covered with blood of lives he's torn,
Haunted with visions of people he’s made mourn,
Feels life would've been better if he had never been born.

You can try and help him all you like,
But you weren't the one who was made to fight, 
You don't understand what he's been thought quite, 
As he doesn't see a touch of humanity in himself in sight. 

He lost everything, everything he knew,
Was brainwashed into something new,
He’s got a lot on his back he has to carry through, 
No where in sight where he can escape to.

 

Cambodia – where to go! 

👣
Oh Cambodia, we love you. Mostly because you have the friendliest inhabitants I’ve ever met! Warm smiles and hearts of gold. 

 Rabbit Island 

  
This place is so underrated! It’s the most magical place I’ve ever been, maybe because we spent night after night swimming with luminous plankton. They made it look like the water was full of stars. I’ve never seen anything like it! But I can’t wait to see it again! 

 Think paradise. You’ve got it. Amazing fresh sea food restaurant, so much so it made me like crab. (which I’ve always hated! Pretty cool how we watched the waiter take it off a boat to go and give it to the chef!) Mouthgasms is the only way to describe it. (Although that reminds me of a hideous time when I worked in hospitality, when a lady actually moaned sexually after every mouthful. Eurgh. Nightmares.) Best food we’ve had so far in Asia (Apart from Thai laab, nothing can compare to those flavours. Although Laos laab is just not the same, by the same I mean it’s awful. Don’t buy it!) Anyways, back to my favourite place. Just imagine relaxing on the beach all day in hammocks, whilst being fed orgasms and spending the nights in sea magic. Perfection is not a strong enough word! 

Mondulkiri – The elephant valley project. 

  
Imagine spending your days watching elephants live happily, bathing, eating and by being elephants not much more! Knowing that these animals used to be beaten day in and day out, they were tortured (not all but some horrifically) and now live in peace. Peace that you can be a part of. Peace that you can appreciate after you hear their heartbreaking stories. Plus you even get to meet a famous elephant! 

 The highlight for me was being able to perform a health check on an elephant that has an eating disorder. Not many people can say they’ve done that now can they? 

  
You get to learn how to read elephants, like have they been ridden excessively, are they sick, are they happy? You get to understand them! You also get to chop down banana trees to feed them, thats pretty fun, I’m not going to lie! 

 You live in the jungle close to them so it’s like they are in the wild yet getting the great care that they need! And you also get to volunteer by building and such to improve the project. (Not skilled things as they employ people to do those, so you really make a real help doing things suitable to your skill level!) Its just fantastic, you have to go! I couldn’t recommend it more! 

Phnom Penh 

Although the pollution and all things similar put you off, take a day in it. You won’t regret it. Go to the killing fields and S21. It will break your heart. It really will. But it will open your eyes and help you understand the country you are in. I won’t tell you more apart from be prepared to hear and see some horrendous things. If you don’t know what to expect, imagine aushvitesz. 

Ratanakiri 

  
This place again isn’t on the map. We went to see the lake which is made from an volcanic crater, pretty cool huh! The lake glistens. The locals glisten, they were the nicest Cambodians I have met! Yet be respectful please, cover your bodies! There are signs which westerners ignore saying no bikinis. Please cover up, the locals go in fully clothed and as this is a very spiritual place you should follow their lead! You’ll have lots of fun, believe me! 

Why I will never go back to working as a waitress! 

  

We’ve all done it, we’ve all been there. Thinking working here you will get to be social, meeting lots of new faces and laughing a lot. But let me tell you the truth! 

The hours 

If you work full time in a restaurant you don’t have time for a life! You live, sleep and breathe the establishment. (I didn’t mention eat as although you spent 10hours a day here minimum, as you have a break before 6 hours is up you’re not entitled to food!) I’m not even exaggerating. My average day would be a split shift – they are just torture! Who wants to finish work just to wait around until you have to start work again. You get 3 hours off, what can you possibly do between 3-6 on any day! Your friends are all at their 9-5 jobs and quite frankly you’re exhausted. You finished work at 12/1am last night. Then went home to eat dinner and relax. By the time your over worked concentration has worn off its 3am. What a perfect sleep cycle!

 Don’t even get me started on days off! Oh brilliant I have a Monday and Thursday off. Firstly, why can’t you give me days together! I’m exhausted so I’ll probably sleep the first day, but then oh wait I’m back at work again. To be exhausted again by Thursday! 

I tell myself not to worry though as every one I know is busy at work. I can only see them in the evenings, but I can’t drink too much I’ve got work in the morning! (If you’re anything like me, a few beers and you’ll be throwing up all day. Imagine feeling like that and having to serve beer. Trust me, it is not fun!) 

 Work at a bar if you have friends who drink there, that’s great fun! But if you don’t you turn into a recluse. Maintaining relationships when you barely have time to shower, let alone eat (I had an awful routine of one meal a day, as I just couldn’t find time to eat!) whilst working your socks off is impossible! 

Workers with no common sense 

This has to be the most stressful part of my old job. I’m flying around a zillion things to do and remember, yet I find my staff are not pulling their weight. All the pressure leans on me, I can’t get a bad bloody trip advisor! (That’s all business’ care about these days!) 

  Some staff I’ve had just can’t take a simple order. No matter how many times you make them check their order pad, it comes out completely different! There was this one time a guy took an order off of 15 people. He wrote everything down and put it on the till. I made him double check and he said all was hunky dory! Until I took his order pad off of him. How could this be? The order pad and the till show completely different items, how hard is it copying what you’ve written to a screen! Luckily I caught that one, but imagine that on a daily basis. I can’t spot them all. 

This brings me on to my next point. 

Complaints! 

So the staff fuck up and I have to deal with it. I put on my sweetest smile, apologise and offer what I believe to be fair compensation. Instead I get spat at and shouted at until I can’t take it anymore! Who do these people think they are? It wasn’t even my fault! 

It’s worse if the chefs fuck up, because they don’t actually care. They don’t have to deal with the tomato faced customer. Yet I get all of the backlash. And no tip for doing absolutely nothing fucking wrong! 

Don’t accept assistant manager!

 Although it may feel great to have a title, one of the worst positions I have ever had was assistant manager. Purely because you do all of the work of the manager and get no credit for it. Well actually they take the credit whilst they’ve been doing sweet fuck all! The worst part of it is that you have to do the training of staff as they’re too lazy. You have to do the cellar management. You have to do everything in their job title and not complain, because they are above you so it’s their duty to delegate! 

Being understaffed 

Nothing is worse than being understaffed. Already you are running around like a headless chicken, whilst your incompetent staff are fucking things up. Which means service will be awful which equals more complaints and less tips. Oh and did I mention your stress levels will be through the roof, purely because the customers just don’t understand what you are dealing with! 

 The worst one I had a restaurant of around 30 customers. My staff member had car trouble, he decided to leave in the middle of a shift to get the AA to tow him somewhere closer to home. I mean seriously? He just walked out. So here I am juggling a workload I just can’t handle on the verge of despair and then wait for it, he doesn’t even get fired! 

 There’s been many other times instances like this that occur but it’s worse when outfront and the kitchen are being bollocked. The chefs shout at me to help them make their food. (The same chefs who once left me alone making 20 taster puddings alone. These are hot deserts, served with hot coffee at the same time! Let’s just say they didn’t get them ‘together’.) 

  To end 

I could literally go on for hours about how my life has been since working in this industry but I’m sure this will give you a glimpse. I have one bit of advice DONT DO IT! Even if you are skint, part time turns into full time = no life. Find something else. Find something that will make you smile everyday instead of making your glow fade away! 

 A note to myself – read this to remind yourself never to go back. Even if I have no money to my name DONT DO IT!

Why you’re stupid for not taking malaria tablets! 

One thing really bothers me. Travellers who don’t take malaria tablets. Especially the ones who try and make out your stupid in taking them. 

 Let’s just clear this up, I’ve had malaria and it was horrible. Why would you not want to try and prevent something that could potentially kill you. 

  Having Malaria honestly felt like I was dying. I had fevers, hot and cold sweats, I was full of sickness and diarrhoea. I had a sore throat , headache and my stomach killed. The worst thing was having no energy, not even enough to walk a metre to the bathroom. Imaging inflicting that upon yourself? Sounds stupid doesn’t it, but that’s how I feel when you say you don’t take the tablets. 

 I’ve heard some funny stories from people who are clearly so uneducated. “If I was in Africa I would take them, but not Asia” Um why not? Malaria still kills in Asia so what difference does a continent make? “Oh it give you nightmares so I don’t want to try them” Yes certain ones do, (stay away from Larium) but everyone has different side effects. Would you really risk your life for the sake of nightmares? (I’ve taken doxycycline and Malarone and suffered from no nightmares!) 

“They’re not worth the money!” Ok so you would pay hundreds on the rest of your jabs, but because they are only in tablet form they are not worth it? 

 I just don’t understand it. Yes ok, I was taking the best malaria tablets possible (Malarone) which cost me over £300 for 3 months and within two weeks I had Malaria. I was just unlucky, about 0.01% of the population that happens to. Yet I believe they kept my symptoms down. Many people die within 24hours of having the disease. It had been 36hours until my coordinator (I was volunteering) thought I was ill enough to go to the hospital. How lucky was I? 

But maybe instances like mine make you think the tablets aren’t worth it. But they are. I wouldn’t wish the pain I suffered on anyone and I was one of the lucky ones. 

If you’re not taking them I hope you’ve thought clearly about the risks you are taking. Maybe you will only see where I’m coming from when you’ve been in this life or death situation. 

No Degree? Where are you going in life

So I’ve noticed recently when I tell people I volunteer I’ve had extremely negative responses. It’s been hurtful considering I’ve helped so many people from all paths of life. 

The main problem people discover is the fact I have not gained a degree. I’m sorry I have not gone to university, unsure of the subject I would chose as it may be irrelevant to my future! I’d rather find my own path in life and than spend thousands working towards something I hope will benefit me in the future. University will always be there, yet before now it never felt like the right time.
Volontourism has made me grow as a person. When I left school I wanted to be a lawyer, had I not travelled and volunteered I wouldn’t have found my true passion in international development, preventing human trafficking and child marriage. Something I knew little about in my sheltered school days! I would’ve felt like my life was unfulfilled as a part of me would be yet undiscovered. 

I have grown as a person so much you would not recognise my old self. I want to help the world fight for equality, not just of women but of countries. We all have a right to life, I just wish sometimes we would help each other more and critisize less. 

I may not have a degree but I have become rich in knowledge and my heart has grown. I’ve become a better person than I ever could wish to be and finally I know what I want to do.

 So I may be 4 years later to discover myself than my peers but if I go to university now I will be sure that what I do will benefit me as it will help me with my dreams. Dreams I wouldn’t have discovered if I had followed the crowd. 

Don’t let anyone get you down. Make your own decisions as only you know what makes you happy! Follow your heart! 

Human trafficking poem

The day in Khanom Thailand we spent a few days with two young girls and who we think was their master. 

 
I see her coming back early in the morning, 

It makes me sick to my stomach to know you’ve sent her out whoring. 

She’s my age so I imagine if it was me, 

How an earth can you sit there happily. 

I watch her smile and she seems so innocent, 

She doesn’t deserve this false imprisonment 

You own her, she’s trapped no where to turn, 

You don’t care the money’s your only concern. 

You walk around in your expensive clothes, 

Sending her into dirty people’s homes.

She just a child and you make her sleep with you too, 

God my only wish was that the authorities knew. 

I wish I could do something to help save her life, 

She’s in so much danger being held captive as your ‘wife’. 
I’ve got no proof no evidence to show, 

So you smile because off to work she can go. 

I can’t imagine the torture she’s been through, 

And I know your other ‘daughter’ has been through it too. 
I want to be able to prevent this, 

How a job where I’m able to put you on a watch list, 

Send you down for the disgusting pimp you are,

Let those women free back into their loving mothers arms. 
I wonder what their family think they are doing, 

Do they have an idea that their daughter is forced into screwing? 

Maybe some sick parents forced it too,

I’ve heard it’s common here to sell your little girl for $300 dollars this is a fact I wish everyone knew! 
I wish everyone would stop being so naive, 

The truth is hard to hear so it’s better to not believe,

Fuck it it’s not these are other people too, 

Do you really think they deserve to walk in these shoes! 
I wish there were more people to stop and put up a fight, 

Fight for these women they do have equal rights! 

Man stand up to man, This shouldn’t be a common practice, 

I don’t understand how you all can just watch and accept this! 
I’ve seen the pimps friends give him disapproving glares, 

Don’t they try and act like they were unaware, 

Why don’t they stand up and show the girls someone cares 

Let’s get these girls protected from their nightmares 
We can’t keep on just letting this happen, 

Come on world,

Come on and make a difference! 
The children deserve to have a childhood 

Instead it’s been robbed and filled with no good! 

Their lives they haven’t managed to live yet, 

Don’t you think they’ve had enough upset. 
If it wasn’t for this language barrier, if we could’ve actually exchanged some words, 

If I had found out they were unhappy 

I’d have moved the world to give them the one they deserve! 

I look back and wish I could’ve done more, 

But what if I falsely accused them id have been done for! 

It’s inspired me to help people in the future like them, 

Become their voice and saviour and get a better outcome.

Why I would love to be vegetarian but couldn’t. 

👣The thought of being a carnivore really is just mean, we are one species eating another, ending a life and really what gives us a right? But it’s something we’ve grown up doing. We’re accustomed to it and I really think I couldn’t give it up.

  I’ve been in Asia for around 6 months now and tried to be a vegetarian, for the simple fact of food poisoning. But within a few hours I’m craving my next meat dish. Chicken I’ve stayed away from, it seems to be every time I eat it I get ill, but when I have eaten it the taste hasn’t made my taste buds ooze! So why do I go back? (Also don’t get me started on being vegan in Asia. Every dish is served with egg and there’s snakes, everywhere! If you were bitten and about to die would you seriously not take the anti venom? I know you would!) 

  I’ve managed to sit through and help with animal sacrifices as I believe if I eat meat I should be able to see the process, but it hasn’t always been easy. There was a time in Kenya where I watched a sheep being suffocated, that to me seemed awful. Why couldn’t they just give it a quick death? I watched the life fall from its eyes and sat through watching its pain of losing the battle. That evening, as it was a wedding celebration I was sat in a room full of traditional Maasai who sucked the bones of the animal dry. I sat there picturing the poor sheep from earlier and struggled. I had to eat it, otherwise I would be shunned by the women. I couldn’t stand the thought of being rude and not accepted so I just had to hold my disgust in and imagine anything apart from what I had just witnessed. But then it makes me question why are we doing this to poor little animals. Why are we ending a life? Does that make us murderders? 

 I do admit that I have also chosen to cause pain to living creatures. Once in Vietnam I tried out a local delicacy of eating snake. Where they farm the snakes, then kill them. You eat their beating heart, bile and blood and then turn the rest into cooked food, including the bone. It was absolutely delicious, one of the best meals I’ve ever had. But my excuse was its a local delicacy, I’m here, so why shouldn’t I try it? It’s just getting to know their culture more. Is that really a valid excuse for killing a living cobra?

  No one in England would imagine doing that to a dog. When I was in Vietnam it was a big thing, all westerners asking how you could do that to a loved pet. But there they only eat the vicious ones who are just seen as meat anyway. Although weirdly many would eat dog and love their own pet dog and not dream of eating it. Oh and a note to anyone that’s been to Vietnam, you have eaten dog. You may not imagine you have but one of our guides said they put it in everything, the juice, the meat, you’ve had it! But my question is why do we accept killing some animals, yet not others? They all have equal rights to life. 

  I admit, I’ve grown up with meat and I’m addicted. I think that killing an animal is normal. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s on my plate and it’s delicious, of course I’ll delve right in! I couldn’t stop eating meat. 

  But I will say the idea of being a vegetarian is extremely admirable. If you are a vegetarian, high five! (Not in a patronising way!) I love that you have that much self control, it’s only something I wish I had. But I could never do. 

  I’m all for eating free range, but right now as I said before I’m in Asia, is there such a thing? Yes all of the meat is organic, but seeing 40 chickens squished into a little container isn’t really a lavish life. Why am I so conditioned into thinking that I can eat that, when I hear about bears living in tight spaces I’m the first to petition? 

 I’m just hoping that one day they make a meat substitute that tastes exactly like meat. I’ve heard it is happening. But then again I’ve also tasted quorn and such and it just doesn’t compare. But I have my fingers crossed! Here’s to a brighter future of less animal abuse!

Helping decrease deaths!

We took a trip to the Atlas Mountains to donate warm clothes, as already this year many people have died from the cold conditions! Even the day we arrived someone had died from the cold in the night, it heartbreaking!

When we arrived the children, whom had never seen white were terrified of us and ran away! But by the end of the day a little girl came and kissed me on the cheek, thanking me for all we had done!

We enjoyed a ‘kids party’ day before the clothes giving took place. Altogether 600 outfits were given out a long with extra things for the families!

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60 in a room, children in cardboard boxes outside!

On our first evening we experienced something I wish never existed.
A room filled with 60 Siberian refugees! There was not enough room for some children so they slept outside in cardboard boxes!

When the co ordinator first saw them, he broke down in tears. This is a man who’s see the worst circumstances, so you can tell just how bad the living conditions are!

We helped them by bringing mattress, shoes and sleeping bags. And I hope the project continues to help them in the future!

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Feeding the homeless

One day we made 60 sandwiches, eggs and drinks to take out to the homeless people.

When we went to distribute them, we were surprised to see our bags of food go within minutes! Hungry faces came out of cardboard shelters and benches.

One homeless man shared his food with his dog, it was beautiful. A man so weak and hungry sharing his only meal!

A heartbreaking moment was when we gave food to a homeless family. I just wish we could’ve given them more than just food!

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Deaf/mute school

Walking into beaming faces greeting us with jazz hands was not what I was expecting, but a very warm welcome! And the staff were more than happy to have us here showering us with tea!

The hours spent here were fabulous, it was amazing how much you can communicate with someone who you can’t even speak to! During an arts and crafts lesson, two little girls managed to teach me sign language; the alphabet, colours and days of the week through gestures! Their teacher was extremely proud of their ability to teach me and saw how much it meant to me, so she even gave me diagram sheets of the signs they had taught me.

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Baby orphanage

My heart sank as I entered the cold room, beneath me there were around 10 babies in baby seats, few toddlers and a teenager in a cot.
It deemed on me, these children have all been abandoned! Some left on the streets and some taken away for safety. All of these babies were unwanted, their gorgeous faces, rejected by their mothers.
Being the optimist I am i conjured up my thoughts positively. How great is it that these children have been rescued! They’ve survived and hopefully some will be adopted! The adoption process is difficult as the requirements are; to be a Muslim and to speak Arabic, but you can be from any country. Most of these children are special needs so the hope in adoption is, sadly, extremely low. But at least they are getting good care!

The one thing that broke my heart was the teenage girl, she was 14 years of age and living in what to me looked like a cage. She sat in there with the babies, watching the babies get endless attention and her getting nothing. We were told not to go near her as her strength is so Incredible that she won’t let go. But George went over and gave her a hug and after around 20 minutes the co ordinater physically had to pull her off of him! It was heartbreaking as I’m sure she was so pleased she had attention that she never wanted it to end! Sadly, she only has a few years left to live and it’s so upsetting knowing her future years will be spent in the same cage.

The children all stay inside, yet the weather outside is beautiful, only once in the 6months a volunteer had been there were they allowed outside, and I couldn’t be happier that I was present on that day! Must have been so good for them getting vitamin D!

One day whilst we were there a child was being adopted, the atmosphere was incredible! All of the nurses were bright and cheerful yet sad to be saying goodbye. That child now has a new life, which I hope that each child in the orphanage one day has the same chance.

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Morocco – Down syndrome school

imageWalking into the Down syndrome class, we received an overwhelming feeling of acceptance. Their faces glowed and their smiles ignited our hearts, instantly I felt an abundance of joy.

I was quickly swept off my feet by the charmer of the group, sliding a chair across the room next to him and guiding me to it, before placing a kiss on my cheek.

A group of adorable little girls blew us away by sending kisses our way! After every one, they looked so mischievous and full of life, even more so when they were reciprocated!

We spent hours with them doing dance routines and arts and crafts, hours which I shall keep with me forever!

Chimwale secondary school

I decided to go to a local secondary girls boarding school to discover how different their lives are there, compared to the boarding/day school I went to. 

As we walked through the gates hundreds of girls swarmed us and dragged us off individually to sit with different groups of people, so they shared the ‘Mzungu’s’. I found the girls to be of a similar age to me so comparing our lives was amazing. I discovered they have to wake up everyday at 5am to study before school at 6am, the school day then finishes at 3:30. Every single girl had such big dreams “I want to be a lawyer!”

“Me, a nurse” 

Were phrases I often heard. 

After minutes of sitting down a bubbly girl came unto me and said “I am a very good dancer!” So my response was, “Really? Show me how you dance!” This I soon realised was a mistake as she had grabbed me and in seconds the girls had formed a huge circle around us, I had just got myself into a dance off! This girl literally started thrusting away at me and slut dropping, I didn’t know what to do, dancing here is so provocative. 

Another girl then asked to sing for me, she grabbed a friend and they sang a beautiful duet. I just love how they want to impress you and show off their skills. 

It was then time for their dinner, as hospitable as ever they gave me a massive bowl of beans, as they had assumed I don’t like nsima. I declined it as I knew that was one of the girls food and they had to eat! But they assured me they had no appetite and didn’t often eat. It made me wonder, do eating disorders common here? They then turned it into a sharing bowl, which actually went untouched. 

I was then invited to see their dorm rooms, which were down a huge corridor with only sheets as doors. The rooms all had two bunk beds in, so slept 4 girls. I sat down and they piled treats on me, soho (squash) and chips. Again I refused, as this was something these girls would’ve saved up for ages to buy but they didn’t take it well. “When we come to England and visit you, we will not take anything you offer us then!”

It was then time to leave, but not before getting asked to stay for a sleepover and the girls coming up with ways so I could get a job there to stay longer! 

 

Special needs

The villages used to treat people with special needs extremely badly, daily they would get rocks thrown at them. I have heard some absolutely shocking stories about the doing of the local people, especially men to the special needs woman.

Since the volunteers have come in and shown that we treat people with special needs how we treat others it has made the locals begin to accept them. This shows the great way volunteers can help change lives, in a positive way.

Toothbrushes and cinema outing

sector12324096On my last day at Hayo I gave out toothbrushes and toothpaste to all of the 60members of my morning class. They were to keep these at school to use before break time as a group activity, so I knew they would take good care of them.

It was an extremely emotional day where the children all sang me goodbye songs, the teachers did speeches and even one young boy made me a poster saying that I was the best teacher they have ever had. 

I then took the pupils to the local cinema as a treat to say goodbye. Inside the mud hut there was a tiny tv and blown speakers, it was very basic but I couldn’t believe they had one! The children loved being in there to much, but with the 100’s of pupils in there it was extremely sweaty so all of the locals removed their tops and swung them around as fans!

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Malaria and a blood infection

I honestly have never felt so ill, at first Malaria didn’t even cross my mind but as my symptoms seemed to get worse there was no questioning it!

It started with a fever, luckily though, I managed to have a window seat on the 10 hour bus journey back from the lake. So when I was too hot I could open the window, or too cold I could wrap up in every item of clothing I took to the lake! When we finally pulled to a stop in Zomba and I felt so dizzy I fell into other passengers and felt extremely sick. Sadly though, many believed I was just hungover!

The following morning my muscles ached so much I could barely walk, even the few metres to the bathroom seemed impossible! When I would return I’d collapse with no energy. I also had a huge headache and a sharp pain in my stomach, so much so that breathing and changing positions in bed was unbearable! 

That evening a local doctor came round to test me for Malaria by doing a finger prick and then placing the blood on what looked like a pregnancy test. He kept adding liquid for 10 minutes but as two lines didn’t come up, he said I was negative for malaria parasites. So I was due the following morning to get anti- biotic’s off of him at the hospital.

I was up all night throwing up so the volunteers all said they think it was best I visited a private hospital instead. I climbed on the back of a njinga whilst wearing a huge jumper and made a code with the driver incase I needed to vomit. He drove slowly over the bumpy roads, which I really appreciated as it showed he cared and wasn’t just after the money! 

I then had to get a bus, by this time I was exhausted. When we arrived in the right town I then had to walk 5 minutes to the hospital, it took all of my strength so when we finally reached outside I collapsed. I slept whilst my friend Fiona tracked down the dutch nurse. After 20 minutes we found her and she told us where to register. I was finally seen to, and after explaining all of my symptoms I was booked in for a blood test. This terrified me as I didn’t want to use their needles, but I had no choice, the only thing I could do was make sure it was from a sealed packet. 

I then feel asleep again for another 30 minutes before I got my results. We were then seen almost straight away and I was told I had malaria +1 and a blood infection, most likely caused by dirt in a mosquito bite. I was so dehydrated by this point I could barely function, so I slept again on a bench whilst my friend waited in line for over an hour for the medication. Altogether it cost me around £10! I had to take ‘Lar’ which was for the malaria, 4 tablets morning and night and 6 tablets for the blood infection and another two unknown pills. 

Fiona then went off to do some shopping whilst I downed many drinks whilst sitting on a  bench. A local came unto me and right away asked “Malaria?” I nodded my head at him and he gave me a sympathetic look as he couldn’t speak English. 

Over the next few days I gained strength to count my malarone anti malarial tablets and discovered I hadn’t missed any, I had just been unlucky. I definitely had been as the tablets cost over £300 and I still managed to get malaria. I was then told I most likely got it at the ‘Black missionaries’ as I could’ve been dehydrated due to drinking alcohol as it makes you more susceptible, which I wished I had known at the time. After three days my symptoms were all gone apart from feeling exhausted, which really frustrated me as I finally felt fine apart from that! 

But now I am healthy although it could strike again at anytime over the next three years.

Nkhata bay

I didn’t realise that I would fall in love on this trip, but this lake was absolute paradise! It was definitely worth the 10 hour bus ride! 

We chilled with the dreadlocked local men who took us on a boat ride, where we sung and played the drums whilst we splashed against the waves. They then took us cliff jumping into clear blue water and then snorkelling where we saw electric coloured fish! We also had a go at fishing, with huge heavy nets and then ate the fresh produce on the beach! We even fed eagles fish, where the locals would whistle whilst throwing a fish unto the sky which would alert the eagle to swoop in and catch it! And then partied the nights away. 

I can not wait to go back to this place, I have never felt so at home! 

First aid round at the chiefs!

I felt like I was under intense pressure, I had been called round to do first aid on the chief of Hayo’s son. They told me to sit as they ate their lunch and pointed at places on the child’s skin that didn’t quite right. I put on my gloves (which they gave me looks for doing) and tended to his wounds, whilst being watched like a hawk. 

Healing tree

Lawrence stopped one day on the way to school next to a tree and said “My wife keeps being sick, so I am just getting her some medicine!” He pulled off the leaves and stuffed them into his pocket.

“I will pound these leaves and then add water and my wife will drink it. This will stop her vomiting!”

Murder

Waking up to the news that a 7 year old boy was murdered by his uncle for eating too much relish was absolutely heart breaking. He was beaten and took outside and tied to a tree to be beaten to death.

No one in the villages seemed shocked or alarmed by this, it was so sad to see that this was such an accepted way of living! 

For the day there were sticks on the road, the distance between the trees out of respect for the boy. Usually this is done when there is a funeral. You are not allowed to cycle through the leaves, everyone has to walk and push their bikes until reaching the other side. The funeral was today and the local school was shut so the whole village could attend the funeral. 

We then had an abuse awareness day which covered things like violence and rape, explaining how it is wrong and people should speak out. This again was a festival with lots of singing and dancing. 

Local lunch

I went to my njinga drivers (Lawrence) for lunch and was treated like absolute royalty!

Lawrence lives next door to his whole family, it was here I met his paralysed uncle, who lay outside all day. Lawrence is the only family member strong enough to lift his uncle, to take him to places like the bathroom, so when he is out working his uncle has no other choice! It made me very sad to see how they have no help, we really take for granted what we are offered in England. 

We ventured into the house and ate alone. We started off by washing our hands and then said a prayer before digging in. There before me was a feast, enough for an army, rice, nsima, egg and tomatoes, pumpkin leaves and peas. I could not believe how much they were treating me, at this time of year most people are starving yet they’ve managed to prepare such luxurious foods! Lawrence kept repeating “This is just for us, we need to finish, my wife has made this for us two!” I felt so bad as there was enough food left in front of us to feed me for a whole week, I just couldn’t squeeze it in! 

At one point his wife entered with his mum in law, but not before knocking and being given permission from Lawrence to walk inside and then bowed before me to shake my hand. I couldn’t imagine having to ask permission from the man of the house to do such ‘normal’ things. 

 

Black missionaries gig!

Believe it or not we went to a gig! It was in a huge hall with all of the lights on, it reminded me of a school disco! 

The way of dancing is very different in Africa, it is very full on so at times when it got too much we felt like we had to beat the men off! At the entrance there were many fights as you had to pay to come in and many had insufficient funds. So men would grab you and not let go when you went out to use the bathroom, it was scary! Even my friend, jumped up to hug her local friend and ended up with a knife in her leg! 

HIV awareness day

This ‘Festival’ was held to encourage locals to get tested and talk about their condition. 

It was held in a little village, but was filled by hundreds of bodies. It started two hours late with speeches, then singing and very provocative dancing! Apparently it was meant to look very sexual because of the day! 

There was drama skits about wanting to start a family which explained how the couple needed to get tested first to find out their options. It was all done in chichewa but a local translated for us. 

Then it was testing time where many queued to await their fate! 8 people in total had the disease, 5 female and 3 male, but apparently some of these already knew, they were just trying to be good examples to encourage others to take tests.

It was an excellent day full of fun and laughter, a great way to encourage people to take tests!

Malnutrition

Whilst we were painting the Malnutrition ward a group of babies with their mums came in for feeding time. Fiona and I went and sat with them to help them feed the babies milk powder through a spoon and peanut butter paste.

There was one baby who stood out as his legs were no bigger than my little finger. I held him and it honestly felt like I was holding a bag of bones, he looked so poorly. I asked his mum how old he was, thinking she would say a few weeks old but her answer shocked me, he was in fact 10 months old! He looked worse than any child I have seen suffering on a BBC advert, his stomach was huge yet his ribs still poked through. It was absolutely heartbreaking.

Washing clothes

Whenever you go outside to wash your clothes in the outside taps the Orphans spot you and run over screaming “WASHING!” They love to help with your washing, once we were playing a game and they all suddenly stopped and asked if I had any washing they could help do! Could you imagine a child in England get that excited to do your hand washing?

Traditional Dance

Every Monday we were invited to learn traditional dance. We had to pay 500 kwacha to attend, which would go to the boys who taught us. 

First we would watch them dance between the banana leaves, chant out loud, beat the drums and use dumbbells and whistles. Then they would go through step by step and teach us. Once we asked for a drum lesson, so instead of the dance they taught us drums. Firstly, they had to warm up the drums by making a fire so they would produce the correct sounds. 

Hayo school

I was assigned a school called Hayo, I was put here as this is where I had previously gone to traditional dance so I had met one of the teachers.

Walking in I had never felt so welcome anywhere is my whole life as the children all ran over to be and started high fiving me and then sang me the same welcome song as the orphans did.

We teach nursery class 8:30 – 10:45. We only have class until around 9:30/10:00 and then break time until we have phala. This is maize flour and water with added sugar, it is cooked differently to Nsima as it looked like porridge. The charity provide this for all of morning class and the teachers. For some, this is their only meal of the day so this encourages them to attend school.

Morning school consists of teaching the alphabet, colours and numbers followed usually by educational games in break time. When we play the games villagers often walk past and looked so pleased with how the children look!

Afternoon school is from 2:30 – 4:00, it is optional as it is for the older children as they attend government schooling in the morning, if they can afford it. We split this class into different standards and teach them different things.It is more serious as we teach Maths; decimals, fractions, significant figures, English; Plurals, tenses and Lifeskills where a volunteer has made a first aid plan to do this term.

The school does not have a uniform, you can wear what you like. Many wear pj tops, some boys wear girls clothes and most of the clothes are ripped and extremely dirty! Some are unfortunate as the rips are in the groin area so you cant hide anything!

The teachers bring their babies to class and even breastfeed them whilst teaching and then lay them on the floor to teach!

In both classes if anyone get’s a question right the whole class sing “Well done, well done, sure, keep it up!” It is so encouraging!

Nsima

On Sunday’s it is a tradition to go to Mama and Papa’s house, the parents of Joshua who started the program here.We had a traditional dish called Nsima. All it is is maize flour and water mixed together, it looked similar to mash potato!
Before eating you have to wash your hands in a bowl to clean them as this meal you eat with your hands. You are only allowed to use your right hand, as the left hand is known here for using in the bathroom. You then take a pinch of Nsima, roll it up and then add some relish (usually tomato’s) and eat.

Painting the malnutrition ward

There were 12 beds altogether in 3 different sections. The beds just had mattresses on and a mosquito net handing over them.

The office and the kitchen were both in section one along with 4 beds. The kitchen was just a cooker and the office was covered in notes of how to make certain medicines.

We painted the ward every Sunday and made each room a different theme, such as jungle theme. We painted things we believed would make the children happy when they were in the hospital. 

A day of new beginnings

Fiona shouted for me to come outside, so I ran out and was greeted by a song

“Welcome, welcome, we are happy to receive you!”  by the orphans, they then introduced themselves repeatedly whilst showing off their dance moves!

I then was allowed my first shower. I was so surprised they had a real shower, although it was in a room with no door! It felt so refreshing as the ice cold water hit my skin, even with the million mosquito’s buzzing around me! I then went to brush my teeth at the outside tap, to find the orphans doing their washing. They saw me with my toothbrush and dashed inside to retrieve theirs! They came out pointing at their toothpaste saying “Colgate” and then brushed away in time with me.

Our first trip today was to the hospital as one of the volunteers had a bad foot. So I was to take my first njinga ride, which is basically getting a backy on a push bike! It was a nice bumpy ride, but luckily unlike some I managed my first ride without falling off! As we rode through the villages we were greeted with the same warm smiles and many shouted “What is your name?” to me, so they can get to know the new azungu!

We took a stop at Mama and Papa’s where we bought some samosas for the equivalent of 5p each. The woman who was cooking was sat inside a smoke filled kitchen peeling potato’s, ready to make more samosas! They tasted much better than I had anticipated!

The hospital had crowds of people lounging around in, many filled the walls and floors sleeping. I people watched and imagined what their lives to be like; there was one Mother and Daughter wearing the same outfit! Nikki was told to stand on some scales in the middle of the waiting room, whilst we sat on the benches opposite. There was a hanging rope right next to Nikki’s head and we realised that was used to weigh babies! We studied the area and realised that one of the wooden panels was not even attached to the floor, so it did nothing to keep up the building, like it had been intended to! Nikki then came back with a yellow hospital booklet on page 8, how dangerous was Tikondwe?

We took a trip to Emma’s to help her with her washing, she did her’s in big buckets outside and rubbed her hands together on the items. On the way back we stopped to greet some little boys, they showed us how they had bent plastic to make electric fans!They were also blowing up condoms and popping them like balloons!

As we returned the orphans ran up and hugged us so I stayed out and played a game called “Nuke, Nuke, Nuko” with them, which sadly they kept making me win! I felt so bad though, as it meant I had to chose people to get out, all the girls pretended to cry when I did so!

Traveling to the shop to get some tomato’s I got given a friendship letter, it asked me to approve a friendship!

Arriving in Malawi

We landed next to a building which was the size of my garden shed, this couldn’t be the airport could it?

We stepped in and straight away I headed to the bathroom. I found the floor covered in water, all of the doors off of their hinges, the locks pulled off, the toilets broken and to top it off ants crawling everywhere. It was safe to say I had landed in Africa!

But soon after I was greeted with the widest smile and warmest hug off of Fiona, a friend I had met in Kenya who was taking me to the village. We hopped in the taxi and passed acres of lush greenery with a healthy amount of maize in. Fiona explained “Look at all the green, it looks so beautiful. It is good you have come in rainy season as this not long ago was all brown. There is going to be a good harvest!” It all look very familiar, the dust roads and the beaten down shops reminded me of Kenya!

We drove through many little villages to get to our one,  I couldn’t quite believe how humongous it was!  As we drove down everyone smiled and waved and shouted “Bo”  to us, which is Malawian for hello. We stopped at the orphanage, which is where our volunteer house is, as soon as the little girls saw a glimpse of me they ran up to me and gave me welcoming hugs!

It was then time for food at the coordinators house of shepherds pie, it tasted divine which it should after taking three hours to make. The rains then started so we took shelter roasting marshmallows on the fire until it cleared enough to slide home. I was so surprised we were able to eat such luxurious foods!