by Work the World

This week, our office manager Nicole had a question for the different houses....

"What do the students get up to during their weekends?"

Sunil was the first to come back with the lowdown on the two Nepal students - Sundeap said that "at home we would normally just hang out with friends, but in Nepal we always make set plans. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't and so we just go with the flow!". Rosie added that "the most exciting trip so far was our trip to the peace pagoda on the other side of the lake. It was amazing, but we didn't realise how long we had been there. At 7pm all the boats back to Pokhara had left and we got stranded. In the end we had to swim across......... ha ha, not really...... Sundeap shouted enough for a boat to eventually come and get us back to the right side of the lake."

Sunil was also keen to tell us their story about a trip in a local bus - "Rosie and Sundeap got a local bus to Lumbini. It was so hot they couldn't even see the views properly and then Rosie suffered heat stroke. Not what you want on bus full of chickens and goats!.Hopefully she will have more luck on her next trip - she is off to trek to Ghorepani and Poon Hill while Sundeap is at the mountain museum and devi's falls. When they get back the next new student Justin will have arrived, so they hope to all go to Chitwan National Park, Begnas lake the Gurkha museum and perhaps even some paragliding!

In India, Jay and John have six students. Rachael, Marry and Lewys have been here for the last four weeks and the other three Alice, April and Niamh have been here for the last two weeks. "Heading to the beach is always good for a short trip. Varkala is a favourite - it's a beach with clif top which is about 45 min journey by train, so easy to reach. There is also Kovalam, about 30 minutes by autorickshaw, and only a couple of rupees. It is one of the tourist place in Trivandrum where we can use beach, sea bath, restaurants, liquor shops, massage centres etc - it's fun!". John also tells us that "if students want a more traditional beach resort, Shanghumungham beach is really popular amongst locals".

For those that want to take a bit longer, two of the girls recommended "Kanyakumari is good. It's in Tamil Nadu and it's famous as a place where the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea all meet. People go there to watch the sun set and rise at the temple or over Vivekananda rock which is situated in the midst of the sea. We also went to Padmanabhapuram Palace on the way home". Jay also recommends Veli Lake for boating and a nice restaurant, or to take Friday off and use the long weekend to travel as far as Munnar, Periyar, Fort Cochin and Thekkady.

Freddy sent a big "Mambo Vipi!" from Arusha. He had a good chat with the students as there are many places to go in North Tanzania. Locally "students normally go on safari, snake park, Moshi to the water falls, the  Impala hotel for swimming or to the orphanage (Paradiso and Gohechi)". We've included more information about all of these in Freddy's own factual blog but he also had a suggestion for a free afternoon  - "there is also the Maasai market where they sell hand craft things.... go when you are in good mood to bargain. Be firm andstick to your price. If they are really not making a profit, they will not sell it to you....most of the time they are lying when say that!"

A big favourite among the students though is the challenge of Kilimanjaro. You can't do this in a weekend, but you can arrange to do a climb after your placement or during an extended weekend. Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and ranks as one of the tallest freestanding mountains in the world. Uhuru Peak rises to an altitude of 15,100 feet (4,600 m) from base to summit. There is also Mt Meru, which Freddy calls "the baby mountain". At a height of 4,566 metres (14,980 ft), it is still visible from Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day, and is the fifth highest mountain in Africa (not much of a baby!!)

Over in Ghana Joe has been chatting to the students about their free time.  Even though there is a variety of activities,  the main places that students visit are Kumasi Ketetia Market, Lake Bosomtwe, Voltal river, Boti falls and Axim Beach. The students have also travelled as a group to Cape Coast to visit Capecoast castle and Kakum national park, where they slept in the tree houses in the jungle and walked through the amazing canopy walk in the trees. Many of the students have also travelled to Nzulezu stilt village, where there is a town built on the water, and Mole national park in the northern part of Ghana.

Apart from the tours on the weekend, Hannah and others usually read their novels in the afternoon when they are back from the placement. The leisure time is also sometimes utilised by playing games like cards, Ludo and table tennis or going swimming at Africa Beach, where they can enjoy the sun and swim in the sea. It is also very popular to write travel journals and students often use their free time to get up to date with their experiences in Ghana, or head off to internet cafes to check mails and write to their relations. "Perhaps the favourite afternoon activity for the girls is the same as home.... they like shopping! Hannah, Isabel and Sarah visit tourist shops to get local gifts and local textiles, including visiting seamstresses to get outfits made. Every Wednesday students and staff put on "African wear" during BBQ, so they get to wear their new clothes"

Next weeks question is all about the food.... "what new foods have you discovered since arriving at the Work the World house". We'll give you the answers this time next week.......

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