Showing posts with label Volunteering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Volunteering. Show all posts

Sunday, 30 October 2016

New Zealand 2016: Last Road to Christchurch.....Quake City, International Antarctic Centre and Cultivating Christchurch

Kia Ora!

Greetings from New Zealand!

The sun is setting and my time is nearly up as the road before me is coming to an end. But I'm still alive and one last thing to say.

So, this is my last blog of Aotearoa from my final destination - New Zealand's second largest city, which has been world publicised for its taints of tragedy and infectious spirit of recovery .......Christchurch 


** I'd recorded this video before the major earthquake in Italy struck




The last road to Christchurch.....

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

New Zealand 2016: Sal - The Dairy Farmer and The Love of Eros...

Kia Ora!

And now, the end is near, and so I face, the final curtain.....but not yet...

Greetings from my rather bumper animal themed blog post from the 'Land of the Long White Cloud' - Aotearoa, my time is nearly up for my travels across the far away land of New Zealand. But I have some last experiences to share with you.....first, in this blog post....from a Calf Nursery on a NZ Dairy Farm.



Being a curious person, I wanted to experience working on a Dairy Farm and see how the industry is run.

**At the time recording this video, I was naively unaware of the fate of these calves. At first, we are led to believe they are abandoned by their mothers but in fact are taken from them a couple of days after birth to be sent to be slaughtered and grieving mothers are impregnated again to lactate milk which isn't intended for human consumption. I struggle to find the moral well being of this and after seeing the true nature of dairy industries, I have personally chosen to not contribute to the industry by consuming beef/veal or cows milk for both ethical and environmental reasons...

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Cambodia 2015: Last House Build #5 Storm Family in Trach Village Rice Paddies

Soo-a-s'day!

Last House Build! in Trach Village in the Siem Reap Province....in the rice paddie fields is where I find my fifth and final house build....*sniff sniff*



Saturday, 29 August 2015

Cambodia 2015: House Build #4 Lisa in Phnom Krom and English lessons at the Pagoda

Soo-a-s'day!

Greetings again from Cambodia which has now been for over a month and has flown by! (and I have a seriously defined right bicep!)

House Build #4 comes from the nearby village of Phnom Krom where we're building a brand new wooden house for a kind young lady named Lisa and her struggling husband with an 18 month old son :)

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Cambodia 2015: Treak Community School, Shadow Puppets, Artisans DÁngkor, Silk Farm Factory and Phnom Penh Children's Hospital

Soo-a-s'day!

Greetings from Cambodia on Week #4 of my volunteer building relief work in Cambodia.



No house building this week, so I decided to go to a Cambodian School partnered with Volunteer Building Cambodia in the Treak Village Community. The school which I have to ride 4km from Siem Reap on a bicycle, provides free schooling for children aged nursery age plus, have been raising money through volunteer donations to build a vast expansion to their school as a community centre -  new classroom, toilets, meeting room, library, workshop rooms for women's courses, wash facilities and a playing field to provide modern and fresh facilities to the community.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Cambodia 2015: House Build #3 Mother, Four Kids and One Bed - Thnung Vilage, Meeting Mother Buddha, Khmer Dancing, Do Goodin' at the Orphanage, Breaking Landmine Victims and Lunch'n with Monk'ns....



Soo - a - s'day!

Welcome to blog #3 of my adventures here in the Great Kingdom of Cambodia! Thank you again for your donations towards my project here with Volunteer Building Cambodia . I have now completed my third house build in Thnung Village about 50 minutes out of Siem Reap.  The family receiving the house is a 47 year old mother with four children who were sharing this small thatched palm leaved dwelling on a plot of land her mother had given her behind her own house. They had one room, one bed and two of the children are teenagers who had to drop out of school to go help their mum by working on a rubber tree farm. The others can't go to school because it is too far away for them to walk there - so we came to change that!


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Cambodia 2015: House Build #2 Mother & Son in Kror Peu Village, Kun Khmer Boxing, Phare Cambodian Circus and Blessed by a Buddhist Monk!

Soo-a-s’day!




I have finished the second house build in my international relief trip to Cambodia.  This is house build #2 and I'm out 45 minutes from Siem Reap city in a place called Kror Peu Village (Crocodile Village) We''ve started a brand new 'stilt style' house of Khmer Kadar style wood with a team of about 20 of us so hence all the bangin'! The family we are building for are a young boy and his mother who was abused by her alcoholic husband who eventually committed suicide. The two of them were living in a small one room thatched palm tree leaved roof house which we demolished and built a stilt style house with a room and porch for them to have. It’s a beautiful setting of rural Cambodia and the community are very sweet and appreciative.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

'International Inspiration' - Tennis Colouring The Third World

By Sal Bolton

as seen in UK Tennis Magazine October 2013 Issue 

It's still British summer! and one year on from the close of the London 2012 Olympic Games - lots of people are out on the tennis courts having a go as the Great British Tennis Weekend kicked off all over the UK - of free tennis! Seriously, you read it right.....FREE tennis. This is an article I've written for 'UK Tennis Magazine' about the legacy of the Olympics and how UK tennis initiatives have utilised unwanted tennis equipment to inspire communities to play tennis in the UK and in the Third World.  

A little bit of my more 'serious' writing....
   

When London was awarded host city to stage the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the motto echoed 'A Lasting Change' and 'Inspire a Generation' - evoking figures of 10 million people to become involved in sports project across the UK inspired by the unique and magical spell of the London 2012 Games and what it brought to the capital. A legacy is sure to remain, as the last medals were awarded at the Paralympics Closing Ceremony defining an end to a seven year journey, but the start of another. The ground-breaking legacy programme organised by the London Olympics Commitee 'International Inspiration', promised to reach 12 million children in 20 countries around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games to ultimately choose sport.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Carribean Sports Fever - How A New UK Initiative is Nurturing the Islands Hidden Talents


Ok, so the British Summer is around the corner, well you would think on some days but then on others you're disappointedly whipping out the winter wardrobe again. But.... usually summer time means the emergence of more active sporting activities with the more tolerable temperatures and prolonged lighter evenings in our favour. But some places out there in this big wide world, really, in the one outside your back garden, the gym or your local park or playground, are missing out on sporting opportunities due to their poor or otherwise non existent sports infrastructure.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Livin' London 2012 - My Short Life as a Games Maker Volunteer


Summer of 2012 - this short period of my hopefully long life I call my Games Maker Life.  I need to be at the Olympic Park by 7.00am for a morning shift as a 'GM' - my identity during the English summer. Afternoon shifts don't start till 2:00pm which gives me a little time to catch some of the morning coverage on T.V. Morning shifts means a 5:00am bus ride and hop on a summer mornings tube up to the Stratford, the home of the Olympic Park in the east of the city. Funny enough I actually enjoy the getting up early part, but I can never sleep very well knowing that I need to be up at the crack of dawn to travel into the city. I leave in my generously free special purple and poppy uniform, which only a handful of people have been selected to have. Looking very militant, I could almost feel myself totally out of character marching down the street like I'm on duty somewhere. That's just dumb.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Memories of a Games Maker - The Rehearsal of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony




 
 
 
So London 2012 is over, the build up over seven years for hosting the Greatest Show on Earth has now climaxed. But man what a summer it was. I want to share my experience witnessing the rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony that shook the world on the night of 27th July 2012.  

 

Friday, 9 April 2010

Australia: 8. Woofin' The Yurtfarm

'The core of ones spirit comes from new experiences'


G'day!

Which you believe its April already and have a track record of existing in the Land of Oz for 2 and a half months now and I'm still alive!

I've ended up in the tropics of Cairns, Far North Queensland and it is scorching hot!! I feel I can’t stand outside for too long as the heat is so overwhelming but hey better than the cold! I flew here after slumming it on the floor of Sydney airport, I felt homeless, nice insight into the world but 20 other people were doing it too. I pretty much got little sleep so I pretty much crashed out when I found this earthy backpackers in Cairns city. There has been an oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef which is not good for its well being. So finally having time to sit down and reminisce about the adventures.

The reason for my whereabouts up here in the Tropics I owe to two people I was rooming with in Sydney - with my funds rapidly depleting, one Australian girl was kind enough to give me a phone number of a Avocado farmer she knew near Cairns who might be harvesting soon. Without a doubt I called him up and he could give me a job in April.....which was two months away.....so I had to come up with a way to stall my spending till then. Word was on the 'backpacker scene' about a scheme called 'Willing Workers On Organic Farms' or 'WWOOFing' as its commonly known. This was an organisation (which is all over the world apparently) which acted kinda like a cultural exchange getting you off the tourist trail. You buy the book with a membership fee of $60 which lists all the farms in Australia who take volunteers to come help out on their farm and for 4 hours work you get food and board. No money spending from there on and boy my money was scarce and the farm life would be so novel for me, having not really been involved with a farm except the petting farms we would visit on school trips.

Flicking through the handy sized book (which I instantly warmed to being printed on recycled paper and with plant based ink), I first saw advertised in the Sydney area a number and brief description of a WWOOF farm called the ‘YurtFarm’ it was in a country town called Goulburn home of the giant 'Big Merino' statue, 3 hrs away from Sydney.
Now I actually have no real idea what a 'Yurt' was and I am one for novel, unfamiliar experiences so I went for it and gave them a call to ask if they needed any help. I was in luck, I could go in a few days and could easily catch a train straight there from the city. 


DSCF2069.jpg


So I did......

and getting off into the small country town, I felt a sigh of relief to be out of the honeypot trap of Sydney and into the calmness of this little town with its buildings echoing the scene of a Western film set. I couldn’t get in touch with the farmers and then realised I would be needing some Wellington Boots - if I was going to be immersing myself in farm life for a while I needed the look for it. So I walked nearby and found an agricultural kind of place which catered for the labouring man (or women) but when I asked for 'Wellies' I got a strange look and was told 'Nah you mean Gum Boots' and taken to the Gum Boot department...... and that's when I saw them, we were the perfect fit......no other footwear needed.
After being preached to about Jesus by this old guy who introduced himself as Tony, now equipped with my hard wearing 'Boots' I was lucky enough to hitchhike up to the farm which was about 20kms out of the town, through the rolling hills and dusty road sides. Really it was pretty isolated but this was the adventure of it. I knew this was the right place as I recognised the farmers name on the cute little letter box on the roadside next to a sign clearly stating 'Yurtfarm' so you didn't have to be a moron to work it out.


DSCF2096.jpg
 

I entered pushing the long wooden gate, closing it behind me of course remembering the Country Code - and was met by an old VW beetle with wooden figures dressed in clothes sticking out of it which sort of confused me and proceeded to walk with 'Boots' of course down the main path channeled by these glorious pink flowers flourishing in the summer bloom. A little down the path, I became surrounded by a tree house and psychedelic decorated trees and shed making it look like some peaceful hippy retreat with signs saying 'To the Meditation Garden'. It was so cute, just like you'd imagine a chocolate box idea of a proper farm, barn, tractor and horses...... 


DSCF2104.jpg


 

DSCF2082.jpgDSCF2081.jpg



DSCF2106.jpgDSCF2094.jpg
 
 

DSCF2107.jpg

Ahhhh!!!!

 
Two English girls Josie and Sophie and a German boy Flo had arrived the day before to start work there and told me I could find the farmers partner Judit who was busy shearing sheep in the barn when I turned up with two daughter Ruby and Tess. The farm was abundant with art work from past Wwoofers and cultivated the idea of a primitive 'Back to Basics' ethos which really attracted me to the place with various signs saying 'No T.V' and 'Live Life'. I knew I was going to like it....

Mike the farmer came home from town and showed me his Yurt Village about 2Km away from the main farmhouse on his 1175 acre sized land which he's been building since the 80's. I was extremely impressed with his self made village with 13 different coloured Yurts looking very much like giant cupcakes dotted around a lake. Mike invited youth groups and visitors to come stay in the village to learn how to be self sufficient and adopt a more country 'back to basics' lifestyle, something that has faded in the digital age of the today's world. But these places still existed and I was enchanted by the womb like bubble of the farm like Peter Pan's NeverNever Land where you don't have to grow up and are free to release your spirit in the simplicity of the place



DSCF2229.jpg


In case you're wondering - a 'Yurt' is a wooden round house taken from the idea of the Mongolian Yurt tents and made into houses – they are WICKED everyone should have one. You can make them for any use, and they have open fires and are cheap to make. He got the idea to bring them to Australia when he was broke in the USA after the wool industry collapsed and was forced to close his Merino sheep farm. Mike discovered the Yurts at a self help centre in California and brought them to Australia as a new business in Goulburn and is pretty famous here for doing it, he was on the TV and had magazine interviews the lot.

DSCF2152.jpg

Mike proudly showed me around his village after a quick knock of Ping Pong in one of the Yurts and was astonished to find he had constructed a crazy golf course, a sports field, a workshop where he would teach kids to build mini boats, a flying fox, a bathroom and two toilets whos walls were adorned with inspirational messages from past visitors and the like.

DSCF2133.jpg

      Hand on heart - I absolutely loved the place and its ethics.


So life as a farmhand....its great fun and has given me the opportunity to do thing I'd never had the chance to do in life before. I'm kinda converting to a country girl. The great thing is that everyday was unpredictable and would wake up not knowing what we would be doing as everyday was never the same. We had our own WWOOF House which was a charming little cottage sharing it with the Huntsman Spider 'Spartacus' (you get used to them, they are harmless). We started work at 8:00am till 12:00pm where we squeezed in a 'Smoko' (a break), Mike getting out his guitar to sing us a few Aussie country songs 'Home Amongst the Gum Trees' and recite some Aussie poetry before the heat of the day crept up on us. I've actually wanted to do more than 4 hours because I had enjoyed it so much.

DSCF2610.jpg
 
Insy, winscy Huntmans Spider....they're harmless
 
 
DSCF2734.jpg


First glimspe of Boots and I....

 
I even learnt how to throw a boomerang which were primarily hunting tools by Aborigine huntsman....and it came back first time! haha




When kid camps came to the farm, we got stuck in helping out with them, learning how to herd sheep and light fires, taking care of the farm animals, picking fruit and just helping to entertain them even pretending to be a ghost in the forest ha! (now this is where my experience at USA summer camp came in handy)

DSCF3453.jpg
 
The type of work we had to do involved us really getting stuck in regardless of your background or where you came from, which was the Australian country way of being - gravelling the roads, making signs, picking grapes, stripping bark, collecting firewood and even milking the old cow Princess like a maid..ahhhh


DSCF2287.jpg


In our free time I would go running in the farmland, canoeing, golf, teaching the kids and Mike Tennis on his home made tennis court which is nice because we were also allowed to get involved in the families life as I would take Tess and Ruby to the country show, playing cricket, riding in the trucks with them and playing practical jokes. The sort of life I'd craved for such a long time. I was even around for Mike's 70th birthday so he had a big farm party from everyone he’s known for years rocking up to the farm.

My next blog will be about my night I spent in the Australian bush alone.....watch this space...