Ecuador: bamboo, blagging and Buddhists

After the project closed, I was asked to stay on in Ecuador in search of opportunities and funding that would allow the organization to continue to help. It was a weird and wonderful time, working in a large part alone for a cause that no one seemed to care about any more. I can only…

I wept for a man I never knew

I wept for a man I never knew today, whilst standing on the site where he once lived and was crushed to death. I stood and sobbed uncontrollably in the rain. I was thinking of his daughter, who had desperately reached out to the NGO I work for, asking if we could find out anything,…

Trump ruined my tea.

An Englishman offered me a cup of tea the other day. Not just any tea, but Yorkshire Tea. PROPER tea. So obviously, I said yes and instantly adored this white-haired tea Santa. It had been a long, long, time. I learned my new tea-ff is from Essex and has been living in Quito for many years….

Don’t date a girl who travels

No idea who wrote this, but it helps explain a lot!   Don’t date a girl who travels. She’s the one with the messy hair colored by the sun. Her skin is now far from fair like it once was. Not even sun kissed. It’s burnt with multiple tan lines, wounds and bites here and…

‘But they have TVs’

I recently showed someone around our homebuilding project in San Miguel de Briceño. I had managed to convince her of how special our project was and that it was worth a visit. Thankfully, she agreed. But as we drove through what is a very poor community, with most people still living in tents or under…

After the earthquake: Volunteering in San Miguel de Briceño

I’ve been working for All Hands Volunteers (AHV), an NGO that provides temporary and longer term housing for people affected by natural disasters – in this case in response to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the west coast of Ecuador on 16th April, 2016. Within a few days of the earthquake, AHV set to work building temporary…

Organic farming in Devon

To ‘wwoof’ is to take up a Worldwide Opportunity on an Organic Farm (www.wwoof.net) – work placements on farms in exchange for meals and accommodation. At Trill Farm, this translated to so much more: new skills, wonderful food, friendships and memories, and the chance to live in a most idyllic setting. I worked alongside five…

Myanmar memo

Mingalabar! Jezuben! Jo Jo and his jokes, Blu Kyun Island TEASHOPS Playing and watching chinlone The start of every conversation: ‘Only one? Beautiful! Manchester United? Rooooooney!’ Ladies staring at my eye make up. Me staring at their thannuka (yellow paste on their cheeks). Babies and children – so so many, everywhere That marionette show (Aung…

Chicamocha, Chikungunya and the Caribbean coast

From Medellín I travelled east to Santander, the region of Colombia known for its colonial villages, the Chicamocha canyon and more adventure sports than I had ever heard of. In San Gil I paraglided above the canyon with a massive grin on my face, swam in huge waterfalls and loved rafting down the River Fonce…

To Punta Gallinas and beyond

A week later, and still feeling rough, I made the long-awaited trip to La Guajira – the most north-east you can go and the road least travelled. My first stop was Cabo de la Vela, a tiny town consisting of a small road which starts and ends abruptly in the middle of absolutely nowhere, lined…

Teaching in the cloudforests of Intag

From a remote farm in the cloud forest in north-west Ecuador, Ned Cresswell has set up the Intag Project, a volunteer programme through which he hopes to introduce sustainable tourism to his local community.  ‘People travelling to Ecuador don’t want to visit Intag. They want the Galápagos, volcanoes… Quito.’ I was curled up in Ned’s…

Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande

Why have I not been here sooner?! Brazil has turned out to be one of the most wonderful, welcoming and beautiful places I have ever been.  I’m staying with my friend Michael, who lives in Copacabana. As it’s the end of their winter the weather has been mixed, generally very warm and humid but often cloudy…