Continuing our monthly updates about our 2014/15 volunteers’ activities, here’s the exciting things they’ve been up to this month:


Phoebe, Thailand:

“Anybody who is planning on travelling in Thailand should consider taking a short Thai cooking course. It was so worth the money (800 baht) and I feel like we really learned things that you just can’t get from a recipe book.

“We opted for Baan Thai cuisine evening course. We all went to the market with an instructor and they showed us all of the different Thai vegetables, spices and fruits that you generally use in Thai cooking.

“We had a choice of four different dishes. I picked spring rolls and Pad Thai while Tara picked a curried prawn dish and fish cakes, then we did Thai green curry (which had 30 chillies between six people!) and coconut seafood soup. The spring rolls were my favourite: I didn’t realise how simple they were and they looked pretty cool at the end.

“Surprisingly, the Pad Thai was the hardest. It involved using different parts of the wok for different things and it just got really confusing. The guy who showed us sped through the instruction and then just said ‘ok bye bye, you cook.’ But it went okay and it was edible so it’s all good.”

Coconut soup before

Coconut seafood soup before

Coconut soup after

Coconut seafood soup after

Learned about physical therapy for children with cerebral palsy

Anna, South Africa:

“The primary thing we do here is provide therapy for children by giving them access to standing frames – these have foot holders, a table, wheels and leg frames so the children can stand up with their legs straight and supporting themselves. These, although they look quite primitive, do wonders for the kids. They prevent contractures – where after a few years the muscles get constantly contracted and the child can no longer move out of that position, no matter how hard you try and pull – which are really problematic.

“Many of the kids who came to the home at a later age have contractures because they didn’t receive physio wherever they were for the years before they came here. The frames also allow the abdomen to stretch out, giving all the internal organs a chance to stretch out. This includes the diaphragm (which very often gets squashed with CP kids as they are usually stuck in one position, usually sitting down) so their respiratory system gets a chance to work properly.

“Weight bearing is also very important – most of the time the kids bear all their weight through their bums, which puts them at great risk of pressure sores, especially as they are so skinny and their bones stick out. Getting in the standing frames lets them bear weight through their legs, which also helps the development of the pelvis and hip joints. The tables also let the kids use their arms and hands to play with toys or do things they wouldn’t usually be able to do in a chair. Finally the frames allow the kids to be at eye level with the other children, and also the caregivers and us – this is incredibly important for social development.”

Made a video about their first few days in China

Brian, China:

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Celebrated Botswanan Independence Day

Alex, Botswana:

“48 years to the day since Botswana became independent from Britain. At the time it was a sparsely populated country with little economic structure. However since independence it has flourished through trade, and with the help of the currently elected political party it has become one of the most stable countries in Africa. A lot of the money made through trade industry has been re-invested into the county’s infrastructure, which, when thought of in comparison to other nearby African countries, it shows in an abundance.

“For the people of Botswana Independence Day means a public holiday. This meant for us that there were no lessons to teach, however, instead we held an Independence Day competition: members from each standard (5, 6, 7) were chosen to compete in each category and the winner from each category will be taken on a camping trip where they will enjoy good food and games. The categories included English spelling, English reading, Setswana spelling, Setswana reading and Maths. We, the volunteers, were the judges and the boys had a lot of fun competing.”

and gave us a guided tour of their casa

Laura, Peru:

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