Tag Archives | volunteering

From Syria to Calais: Nine Years of Changing Perspectives

In the summer of 2007 I travelled to Syria. Our group were on a trip around the Middle East when we crossed over the Jordanian border to arrive in the ancient walled city of Damascus. A collection of women from England, Australia, Canada and the US, we walked past palm trees and half ruined architecture above multi-coloured parasols. My […]

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So You Want to Volunteer in South America?

“I’m going to teach English in Ecuador!” This gleeful announcement was made to my dad in the summer of 2013, just three days after I’d flown back home to London from South East Asia. Still in the travelling mindset, I was already plotting my next volunteer move. Although it may sound like a spontaneous decision, the […]

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The Refugee Crisis: Why Come to the Calais Camps?

I was nervous. Standing awkwardly on a patch of sloping mud below a grassy sand dune, I stared down at my hefty walking boots half covered by waterproof trousers. Opposite me stood dozens of men in a quiet line, many of their faces turned to me with vague interest. I had no idea what I […]

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The Refugee Crisis: Volunteering in the Calais Warehouse

The Refugee Crisis: Volunteering in the Calais Warehouse

There is French dirt from the Calais camps coating my clothes. Dust from the warehouse blurring the lenses of my glasses. The cracks in my hands are sore and dried out, and each finger has too many smudges of permanent marker to count. In seven days, I’ve become obsessed with packing cardboard boxes full of donated […]

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What Does Travel Mean to You?

What Does Travel Mean to You?

When I was eight years old, I got locked inside a toilet cubicle in a Japanese KFC. I’d been eating fried chicken with my parents mere minutes before; my fingers were greasy, and the lock on the door was little more than a strip of jutting plastic with an indent so shallow that only a […]

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The Pueblo of Morado K’asa and Its Two Hundred Residents

I didn’t even know we’d arrived in Morado K’asa until Roxana pulled at my arm. Clambering past a mother and her baby, we jumped down from the little micro bus and bartered with the driver to sell us tickets for the return journey back to Sucre that afternoon. Then we shouldered our bags, peeled off […]

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Working in a Bolivian Artificial Limb Clinic

“Ah, shit! I’ve broken my leg…” Two Bolivian ladies flutter anxiously around me as I attempt to get up from the pavement, my spectacular stumble-and-fall still fresh in my memory. My leg is askew in front of me, battered and bruised. The knee joint has separated completely from the calf; the two halves lie a […]

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The Best View in Rio… And It’s From a Favela

His name was Francisco, and he’d always lived in the favelas. “I was born in Rocinha,” he told Kay in Portuguese, proudly, “but I built this house eighteen years ago.” The blue-green building sits neatly on a corner of the narrow road that leads up, ever winding, to the very top of Rocinha: Rio de […]

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Community, Compromise and Hard Work: Back to Basics in the Brazilian Jungle

The late afternoon sun was strong as I clambered across the gleaming white peaks of the kitchen hut roof, paintbrush in hand. It already looked like I was standing on top of a giant meringue, and things were only going to get whiter. Two coats down and I was starting on a third when I […]

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Two Weeks of Spanish Classes with Nueva Lengua

The beginning of September has brought with it the sudden realisation that I’ve been in South America for seven months. Which means I’ve also been speaking Spanish for the same amount of time – or at least attempting to. When I first arrived in Ecuador, I barely knew a single Spanish phrase. And after an […]

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