World Post Day is celebrated on 9th October every year, that is today. Contrary to the popular belief that the first post office started functioning on this day, it is actually the day on which Universal Postal Union was established in 1874 in Berne.
Enough of history. Why am I talking about this?
If the entrance is this inviting, who would not like to go in ?
Is not it a good way to invite to a museum?
Today is World Heritage Day. There are 30 World Heritage sites in India, and 981 in the whole world. Can anybody visit them in one life? Yes, I know of a person who visits only Heritage sites and he’s been doing it for last 6 years! Slowly, one by one.
While I am not fortunate enough to be like him, I am contended with my own pace. When I look at the pictures of the sites I’ve visited, I feel quite happy.
Today I share pictures of few of the Heritage sites visited by me. I have many more but then this post will be very long. 🙂
Another year has passed and it’s time to look back and take stock, time to update the set of to-dos, time to see how was the year 2012 for me in terms of travel and otherwise.
As I always say, I count my memories, not the places and I am happy that my travel memories are far more & better than the destinations. Some road trips, some train journeys and a few flights took me places almost every month. I made some new friends, consolidated my bond with old ones.
I also moved to a new place.
What is voluntourism? It is a conscious amalgamation of a voluntary service to a destination with traditional elements of travel.
In simple words, choose a destination and a type of voluntary service which satiates your travel needs as well. It can have elements such as arts, culture, geography, history and recreation.
Post updated on : May 11th, 2020.
Taste of Voluntourism
Combining travel and volunteering, voluntourism is a popular trend now. Whether it is for helping the environment or the local community, voluntourism or traveling to volunteer for a charitable cause, is one of the most dynamic trends afoot. It is a word that is both awkward and elegant, and at times misinterpreted as well.
One of the classes.
How to plan for voluntourism
Decide on time frame you can afford to do the volunteer service.
Voluntourism is not
Sometimes selecting type of volunteer work can be very interesting and of course, challenging. 🙂
You should go for a program what you like to do, or can do as per your profession, hobby or condition of physical health.
My first choice was to work for a women’s home in eastern Cambodia where sexually abused women & girls were housed but there were a couple of hitches. First, it was my first time with that NGO. Being a sensitive issue, they wanted someone who had already worked for them. Second, they needed at least six month’s commitment from me which was not possible at that time.
A few other options were suggested to me by the NGO with whom I had tied up. Some of them were beyond my capacity. Had I opted for them, it would have been a hilarious disaster for both the parties. 😀
Here are some of them.
That’s me teaching and the regular teacher translating it to the children.
It was my first day at school as a volunteer teacher in a new town of a new country. I felt like a kid who was going to start his first ever day of education. Lack of a common language had made me both excited and nervous. I was wondering how I am going to communicate with students who understood very little or no English.
I had already charted out a rough plan of my way of teaching after meeting with people at the NGO who had apprised me of students’ current level of knowledge of English.
Here in school, after the customary round of greetings and introductions, all students settled in their respective seats. As the normal scene in any class, I could see them whispering and discussing me. Ignoring them, as I started discussing about the curriculum and related stuff with their regular teacher, I heard a voice.
We all know that a sightseeing tour of Cambodia entails a visit Angkor Wat, and the so many temples until you get completely templed out and so many Wats to last you a lifetime.
Also, any “5 things to do in Cambodia” will talk about the 5 main points of attractions and may include Balloon rides and Helicopter Tours as well.
Wat What if you are on a extended trip like we were? I have compiled a few off beat stuff that you can do.
Volunteer : Most government schools will welcome a volunteer teacher, house builder, electrician, carpenter etc. Spend a few hours every week to help Cambodia, which is now struggling to be back on its own 14 million pairs of feet. Generally you can just walk in to a school and find out about these opportunities & availabilities but if you are like me then you can find something beforehand and finalize the dates and timings etc.
Well, if you are really interested, I can help you out in this.
Cello Concert at Children’s Hospital : The swiss pediatrician Dr. Beat Richner, adorns the nick name, BEATOCELLO. Why ? Because he plays the Cello!
The cellist pediatrician Dr. Beat Richner at his work.
As I sip Chinese tea sitting in my balcony, I try to look back at the time spent in this country.
I live in an urbanized village of Siem Reap, Cambodia. There is no electricity in the area for last 3 hours and I am told that around 6 years back they had electricity for only 3-4 hours a day. It’s quite an improvement, they say. The morning is not very hot … a cloudy day again.
Awesome Sun emerging, overpowering the dark night.
The tea is prepared on a small gas camp stove; the only stove I have for cooking. I gaze into my cup. The tea is almost colorless and tasteless without milk or sugar… does it remind me of something? Is it like my life here in Cambodia?
Three days back I had asked on Facebook about the photo shown below.
The responses were quite interesting. Ranging from a smoking pipe, cow poo to a spider, they made me laugh and of course worried. For a moment I wanted to stab myself for asking our driver to stop midway to buy these. Come on, I had eaten bambooful of this dish!
I am pretty sure some people referred to Google as well because they answered correctly. 😀
Packed food, ready to eat.
Okay, here is the answer. It is a traditional Cambodian rice dish
I was going to a school !
I was both excited and nervous. What’s in store for me in this town of a new country where lack of a common language is a big problem for us. Last four days, I had difficulty in explaining what I wanted to eat or where I wanted to go. Then how am I going to communicate with teachers and students of the school?
So what if I am a volunteer teacher, I was feeling like a kid going to a new school.
All these emotions bothered me constantly as I took the transport to the school that is around 3 KM away from my place of stay.
It took a while to find the place. This tuk-tuk driver, like any one of his brotherhood, would know the way to all the tourist spots and even smallest hotels in nooks & corners of Siem Reap, Cambodia but not know even the best educational institutions let alone this small little government school that was on the way to the airport in the outskirts!