Morocco – 15th of June

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We started work at around nine in the morning after our breakfast. Unfortunately I had only had a banana and an apple for breakfast because the only other option was not gluten free, so I was still a bit hungry when we got to the site but I decided to try and push through it. The first job I was given was chiseling the wall so that electrics could be fitted into it and the plastered over. Quite a few of us were doing this but some were mixing cement (this meant having a pile of cement and sand on the floor and mixing it into water with spades) and some were helping to build up the interior walls.

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^ Me chiselling ^

By around lunch time I was starting to feel like I need a lie down but luckily the president of Childreach’s partner organisation had come to visit us and had brought some lovely gluten free crumpet/bread things. He sat with us at lunch and tried to teach us Berber, all he succeeded with was “shoran” which I’m pretty sure is actually Arabic but it was a step in the right direction.

The girls were moved to a much bigger house which was decorated with the most amazing tiles inside.  The only downside was one bathroom between fourteen girls, but on the plus side the site was literally right next door to us so not to far to walk. The house also had a beautiful view of the village from the roof terrace, which the RGU team’s bedroom opened directly out onto!DSCN0041

We stayed up to star gaze that night because I had seen Mars in the sky and Imogen had also spotted Saturn. We watch the International Space Station pass over us from the roof top and then decided to call it a night…

TO BE CONTINUED

Morocco – 14th of June

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Our plane arrived in Morocco around one in the morning, we were all exhausted. We got to passport control and had to fill out these little forms about who we were, where we had come from, where we were going…you know, the usual. One problem though, we didn’t know our address in Morocco! The guys behind the desk were not happy, we were getting stressed, we tried to explain to them that we were here for charity so we weren’t really sure where we were going and no one had told us the name of the hotel we were staying at. This went on for about ten minutes, we genuinely thought we were never getting in the country, but then somebody remembered they had their pre-departure pack. The name of the Village was in it so we were saved!

We were met at the airport by one of our guides, Abderrahmane or Abdul for short which is much easier. We got in the mini bus and headed to the hotel, where we went straight to bed because by this time it was half two in the morning and nobody was a functioning human being.

The most important thing about hotels in hot countries? Air-conditioning. What did we not have in our room? Air-conditioning. It was so hot i didn’t even bother lifting the covers I just passed out on top of them. The room was a very uncomfortable stuffy sort of heat when we woke up in the morning. We were also really disorientated as we tried to figure out whether or not there was a time difference here.

When we got to breakfast and saw that we were the only ones there we decided that there was definitely not a time difference. Unfortunately for me the only thing at the breakfast I could eat was yogurt, but they were very yummy yogurts so that made up for it a little. Imogen and I decided to try out the famous Moroccan peppermint tea, and it wasn’t to bad. It had a faint taste of blue soft mints and I thought that it would be very nice as an iced tea.

After almost leaving Charlotte (one of our new Welsh team members) in her room due to a miscount, we set off from Marrakech to our village which we all now knew was called Marigha. We would not be forgetting that anytime soon.

On our way to the Marigha we stopped in a larger village to visit the Saturday market and we were given a tour. The market was huge and so busy. They sold everything there from baby bunnies and chicks to shampoo and conditioner, they even had small restaurants where people could take meat that they had bought and get it cooked, or just buy ready cooked food. There were stands full of nuts and seeds and some of the biggest watermelons I have ever seen.

We arrived at Marigha around about lunch time and they told us it was going to be a half hour to forty-five minute walk up to the main part of the village. This was an extreme exaggeration as it only took us around five to ten minutes to get to the main house. Here we unloaded the truck that had carried our bags from the mini bus to the village and went inside for lunch. Lunch was brilliant, we were presented with a huge plate of vegetables and rice, and on the side we were given a plate of meatballs which were delicious. After this we were given fruit and some peppermint tea, which was much nicer than the one we had tried at the hotel.

We were taken to a house where we would be staying for the first night because our house was not ready for us yet. The house was beautiful. It was not what I was expecting at all from what they had told us at home I had been expecting a dark little hut with no running water or electricity and a hole in the ground, with a bucket to wash with. This house was wonderfully decorated with tiles and fancy lights and even had a proper bathroom with a shower!

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After we had had a look around we all took a much needed nap before Abdul took us for a walk around the village. He took us up to the top of the village to a four hundred year old castle which was made from nothing more than clay, stone and wooden beams. We also got to see the site where the school was and he explained how important the project was for the village and how it would help the children.

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We went back to the main house to have dinner and some camomile tea or “sleepy tea” and Abdul and Rabia told us what we would be doing on the site. I went back to the house feeling excited but definitely ready for a good nights sleep especially with breakfast being at half past eight in the morning the next day…

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TO BE CONTINUED

 

Morocco – 12th – 13th of June

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We began our journey to Morocco with an 11 hour bus trip to London from Aberdeen. This was not as bad as I had originally thought it was going to be as we had bunk beds on board the bus to sleep on instead of being crammed into tiny seats. I managed to get a good 5 or 6 hours sleep on the way down so I was looking forward to our day in London.

Originally our flights to Marrakech were due to depart at three in the afternoon but they had been changed to later that night so we had a whole day free in London to go sight seeing. We started off by heading to the Childreach International offices at Hand Court so we didn’t have to carry our bags around all day with us. While we were there we were shown a short video from the vice president of Childreach’s partner organisation the Assafou Association; he welcomed us to Morocco and said a few words about the village and the project we would be working on.

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From the Childreach offices we headed to Trafalgar Square and stopped to eat some lunch. While we were sitting on the steps in front of the National Gallery two drunk men decided that the heat was just to much for them and jumped into one of the fountains in the square. The security guards could do nothing but stand and watch in horror; they did not want to go in after these men. Eventually they cooled down enough or the joke wore off because the men climbed out of the fountain and continued with there day as if nothing had happened.

After our lunch we headed towards Westminster, we stopped at Downing Street to have a look through the gates and met a very nice police officer there.  I had never realised how tightly surrounded Westminster Abby and Big Ben were by other buildings, I guess because I had only ever seen it once before in person from the other side of the river or on the TV.  We had another break after Westminster in St James’ Park, it was an extremely hot day. We all decided, after about half an hour of sitting on the grass, that ice-cream was definitely needed so we went on the hunt for an ice-cream stand. It was not long before we found one but to my dismay they only did ice-cream in cones, which being a Coeliac was absolutely no use to me at all. When I asked if they could just put the same amount of ice-cream into a coffee cup instead they said that wasn’t allowed and that if I wanted a tub I would have to pay almost double for a Sunday which was not what I wanted, queue Coeliac rage mode. I went to the next ice-cream stand and they told me the same thing, so I settled for a Solero.

Buckingham Palace is a lot shorter in real life than I thought but I am pretty sure it goes back for quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still think it is an impressive building, it just looked a lot bigger on the footage from the royal wedding than it does when you stand right in front of it. We were going to head back to the Childreach offices after Buckingham Palace but on the way to the subway station we walked past Hyde Park and decided to look around. By this time we were definitely sunburnt, apart from Imogen because she was smart enough to put sun cream on that morning.

Back at the Childreach office we got a talk from some of the people who work their, it was amazing to see how passionate they were about the charity and to here about some of the other projects. We did a workshop in child rights where we had to pick the right that we thought was the most important and explain why. Childreach do this workshop with children in some of their projects around the world to teach them that they have rights whether they have been good or bad, which surprisingly a lot of children do not realise. We were also shown a trailer for a film that will be previewed this year and is set to be released next summer called “Sold” which Childreach have worked very closely on, about child trafficking. The film makers say: “We hope our film, SOLD, will inspire a global movement to address this crime domestically and internationally.” Watching the trailer for this film brought tears to my eyes and I am looking forward to its release.

If you would like to know more about the film or watch the trailer please visit their website at: http://www.soldthemovie.com I greatly recomend that you do.

I think it is safe to say that the Underground’s self service ticket machines brought out the angry Scot’s in all of us as they refused to take our Scottish bank notes! Eventually we thought it was best to suck it up and pay by card but don’t you think for a second that we didn’t mutter and mumble under our breath about “legal tender” and “it has the queen’s head on it doesn’t it” and ” we may swell be independent when you treat our money like this”!

After a very crowded train ride to Gatwick airport, we finally arrived at the North Terminal and met some of our Welsh team mates.  All we had to do now was check in and wait for our flight! This was not as easy as it should have been due to the size of our bags we had to put them in the oversized baggage, but nobody in the airport seemed to know where this was. Thankfully we found it and went through customs, got some food and my last Banana Split for two weeks! Before we knew it we were sitting on the plane and ready to go, Morocco here we come…

 

TO BE CONTINUED

Tuesday 27th May – Cave Bar

This dream started off at the Beach in Aberdeen where I apparently lived with my family. This has probably come from the conversation I had with my sister last night about moving into my new flat by the harbour soon. So the house was old and there was no carpets in any of the rooms, it was really dark and the wall paper was peeling. We had no food or electricity, the whole street looked like this. I think it was some sort of post apocalyptic world because everything looked really run down and overgrown.

I went looking for food along the coast and came across a cave, the walls of the cave were purple and green and the were shining from the light of the moon outside. I went further into the cave and discovered hot pools of water like natural springs. I was with my flat mate leanne but she was so thirsty she could hardly walk so I told her to wait by one of the pools and I would go further into the cave to see if there was anything hidden there. Above one of the pools I found a ledge, on this ledge the were cans of lemonade. I took the lemonade down from the shelf and behind it I found whisky and vodka. I looked around and saw cans of beer and cider hidden in cracks in the walls around the cave. I looked closer at the pool I was currently beside and saw that the bubbles were coming from tubes at the bottom of the pool. I looked up and saw lights built in to the roof of the cave. That was when I realised that this cave was actually a bar.

Suddenly I heard people coming into the cave so I rushed back to leanne with the can of lemonade that I had taken from the ledge and we left the cave. Back at my house I told everyone what I had found, and my friend Kellsey was there and she said that she already knew about the cave and that it was where the resistance met, she had discovered it whilst looking for for rocks for there collection. This seemed to make perfect sense to me in my dream but now I have no idea what the resistance was fighting against or why they were meeting in a cave bar.

This is the second night in a row I have had a dream about bars/nightclubs/drinking, on Monday I a had a dream that me and my friends opened a secret nightclub in Aberdeen and it was very successful. I don’t remember that dream in so much detail though. Obvioulsy I am having withdrawal from not going out in the past couple of weeks…

Wake Me Up When It’s All Over

If you had told me this time last year that I would be sitting here listening to Avicii I would have no idea who you were talking about. My iPod is full of metal and alternative music, because that is what my friends listened to, it’s what boyfriend at the time listened to so it was therefore what I listened to. But Avicii has been the sound track to our first year at RGU.

I am currently taking a break, I’m making my scrap book from a recent study trip I took to Paris. The reason I am taking this break is because the song “Wake Me Up” by Avicii just came on and I realised how much it sums up my experience this year. The song is all about being lost and not knowing where you are going but you know where you are right now. It is about becoming a new person without even really realising it.

This has been a difficult year for me, a lot has changed in my life that I thought was permanent. I have met the most amazing people during my first year of Art School but I have also lost touch with people who I thought I would always have in my life. I have realised who my true friends are, who I can count on and that my mum is always there, even if it is 11 at night.

I felt so lost when I started first year, I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life coming to uni. I didn’t think I had what it took to make it through (even my lecturer told me that when I started she thought I was a D student, then I got a B for fist semester!). Most people will see that I have changed physically, I have longer hair, I do my make up differently etc. but I am also more confident in myself as a person and in my work, that B definitely helped. There are so many songs out there that sum up an experience, a song that will take you back to a moment from the first note; for example the song “Barbra Streisand” makes me think of my last day of 6th year in the pouring rain run-skipping home with my friends because we never had to set foot in that horrid place again. I hated that song but it was the song that was playing in the common room as the last bell went and everyone was released into the world of higher education, so part of me is fond of it.

I think the reason “Wake Me Up” has only come to my attention now, it has been playing in clubs and parties all year, is because first year is over. I get my results back in just over a week and then I’m free for three months until second year. Everything is about to change again. I am moving out of halls in under a month which is going to be bizarre, the friends that I have made here are all going home and I won’t see them until after summer, one will even be on the other side of the world in New Zealand! I am moving into a new flat with amazing people in July and we can’t wait to make it home, just like we did here at halls.

I’m not saying that I have “found myself” this year, god knows I’m not that deep! But I do know now that the next three years are what will shape me as a person. The friends I have made this year will be there with me learning and growing as well and when it is all over we will be wiser and older and hopefully we will find ourselves amongst the chaos of becoming adults.

Seven Things I Learnt From My Fundraising Experience

If you know me personally (or are a Facebook friend) then you will probably know that I am going to Morocco in June to help build an education centre, to be quite honest if you do know me you are probably fed up of hearing that. In order for me to go on this trip I had to raise £1750 for Childreach International, I can now proudly say I have reached that target, and I think it’s fair to say it has taught me a lot.

One – fundraising is hard work

There is no easy way to ask people for money, especially when everyone you know is a student. They just simply do not have the cash to hand out to you on a silver platter, you have to beg like your life depends on it and this still only results in minimum cash intake.

Two – Plan ahead

I am so unorganised it hurts my brain. When I put my mind to it I get the job done, when I organised a battle of the bands it didn’t go horribly wrong (yay). I wish I had known this at the start because I could have organised so many events if I had just planned ahead and thought about the resources that I had available to me. I could have raised a lot more money if I hadn’t mucked myself around for so long.

Three – Failure is an option

Just because you failed the first time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again. Like I said everyone I know is skint, but just because they didn’t have any money the first time I asked for help doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have money the next time I asked. Failing is an opportunity to rethink you strategy, it is not a disaster.

Four – Learn from your mistakes

This links nicely back to three. I made a profit of £139 from my battle of the bands, by far my biggest amount raised at once. This didn’t mean it was perfect though. I made a lot of mistakes while I was organising this event but it has taught me a lot about how to plan one in the future ( if I ever want to go through that again) like try not to make an event the week before payday, or maybe give yourself longer than three weeks to organise it and try not to go to paris for a week the week before your event. All bad ideas but hey, alls well that ends well.

Five – Don’t be afraid to ask for help

God I wish I had just asked for help when I was struggling. There was help available to me, I was just to scared to admit I was having a hard time to ask for it. If I had asked then I would have saved myself a lot of stress. If there is help available take it, don’t be scared that you need help, everyone needs help and there is always someone who is willing to help you.

Six – If you have friends and family, use them

This isn’t as mean as it sounds, when I say use them I mean ask them to help you out. I asked two of my flat mates to work the door at an event and they were more than happy to do it. Leaving them to handle the door meant I could run around doing the ten billion other things I had to do that night. I also asked a friend to help me set up and some others to go around with collection tins at the end of the night, I could not have done my event with out them. Your friends will help you out because they love you and want to see you succeed, it is the same with family, I wouldn’t have had three of my bands for Battle of the Bands if it wasn’t for my sister. I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped me out, thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

Seven – Your loved ones will more than happily throw gunge at you

One of my fund-raising ideas was to get people to dare me to do things. One of these things I was dared to do was get gunged. My flatmates happily  agreed to through all sorts of disgusting things at me, my mum and sister were thrilled with the opportunity to film it, while other friends kindly donated all sorts of questionable food stuffs for the gunge. Give people an opportunity to embarrass you and they will lap it up. Another thing I learned that day: Gunge is cold!!

This year has taught me a lot about myself and fund-raising has taught me a lot about life and how you will only get out what you put in. I am so happy that I managed to raise the money I did and I can not wait to go to Morocco in June, Childreach does great work all around the world and I am proud to be a part of it.

My Life is a Series of Clumsy Events

I’m clumsy there is no denying that. I can walk into a chair that is in plain sight, like straight into it not just clip the side as I try to walk past it.
I think the worst thing about my complete lack of spacial awareness is that work as a waitress on weekends, a job that really requires you to have some sort of balance. The reason I bring this up is due to the particularly clumsy day that I had today. Plus side I only broke one shot glass, down side I broke a shot glass.
This wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t smashed my favourite glass last night, or dropped a full bottle of milk all over the kitchen floor last week because I misjudged where the table was, or fallen down the stairs on Thursday when me and my sister went to see McBusted. I just seem to be incapable of not embarrassing myself.
I remember reading on twitter sometime ago that stairs kill a lot of people a year…vague I know but surely this means I am not alone in my clumsiness? There are others out there who punch shelves instead of reaching the item they were aiming for, others who miss the door handle and end up almost falling into the door instead of opening it and others who try to gracefully walk through a bus and instead are sent hurtling down the middle of the seats like a pram on a hill.
My life could be lain out in a series of clumsy event leading up until right now where I opened the kitchen door and hit the glass I was carrying, luckily this one remains intact. Sometimes I am scared to leave my bed for fear of the impending clumsy doom that awaits me in the wider world, but then better a clumsy life than a boring one.

Wednesday 12th of March – Clown Waiters and Dynamite

I thought my zombie dreams were weird but this was just bizarre beyond belief.

The dream started with a ball room, I walked in behind a man in a tuxedo. Around the room there were clowns standing at attention against the walls, they were in a pattern purple clown, yellow clown, purple clown, yellow clown etc. There were two long tables running the length of the hall. The people that sat around these tables were all dressed for the occasion and they all stood up as the tuxedo man entered the room. They watched him as he walked down the middle of the two tables and onto the stage at the back of the hall.

He says something to the room and the clowns start to serve people food, the tuxedo man and another man begin a trapeze act over tables. I have made my way up to the balcony by this point and I over hear somebody talking about the act and how good it is that he has kept up the trapeze after the accident. I don’t know what the accident is, and I am distracted by a box on the stage.

Everyone finishes eating and the clowns begin to clear the plates and move the tables away so people can dance. People are now wearing masks and I make my way into the crowd. The tuxedo man stays on the stage watching everyone.

The doors open and military looking men walk into the room with one of the purple clowns as hostage. They demand the box from the stage and start to spread out around the room. This is when I figure out that the box has money in it. I look at the man on the stage and he seems completely composed. The hostage clown is pleading with men, I think they are terrorists. I know the clown, we are undercover together. He is the tuxedo man’s son, and I am the tuxedo man’s wife. Tuxedo man thinks we are dead, I remember the accident now. There was a fire in our house, I am horribly scarred from it.

People are managing to escape as the terrorists are start to pour petrol over the floor. I know the tuxedo man’s thoughts, he doesn’t remember the accident, he doesn’t think we are dead, he doesn’t know we exist at all.

There aren’t many people left in the room now, only the clowns me and a few people who are too scared to move. The terrorists round us up and tie us together on the stage. They light matches to set the petrol on fire. I know the mans thoughts again, the fire seems to have triggered his memory and he remember the accident, now he thinks we are dead. I grab his hand and tell him I’m here.

The terrorists are leaving with the box and I can smell something other than the fire that surrounds us. I realise that it is dynamite, it is under the stage. I kick the trap door open from the stage and see piles and piles of it.

I woke up here, so no idea if I lived or died but yeah no idea where that dream came from I looked it up in my dream diary and it pretty much said it was because I have big decisions to make that will cause a big change. I do have a lot to decide right now but I don’t really see what clowns and dynamite have to do with that…

To Old Adventures

I just had a “GUMMI ZONE PIZZA”, if you don’t know what that is it’s pretty much a mini pizza made out of gummy sweets. It was a strange experience because it took me right back to being in primary school. They don’t remind me of school at all just being that age. One time in particular comes back to me, it is a story that gets brought up from time to time in my house…

Jack and Aileen go to Africa. Now I would like to remind you that I was very young when this happened so the details may be off and my memory may have added to the story as time has gone on.

Me and my little brother, by 8 months, were playing in the living room doing what children do, using our imagination (my memory puts both sets of grandparents at the scene but I’m sure mum will correct me on that). In our minds we were trekking the vast jungles of Africa, fending off wild animals and swinging through the trees like monkeys. In reality we were probably just being really annoying  jumping over the furniture while the grown ups were tying to have a conversation. This is where dad jumps in,

“Hey I’ll take you to the boats, maybe one is going to Africa for real!”

This was our dream come true, we were going to see real life lions and snakes and monkeys and toucans (we were big fans of “George of the jungle”).

So we get in the car and off we went to the next town over. It is a fishing town so it has a harbour with some quite impressive boats but no long haul all the way to Africa boats. It was reasonably dark by this time and the street lights were reflecting of the water. I may not have been focusing on this but I have seen it so many times it is just what comes to mind when I think of this place. I believe this is where Jack stopped using his imagination, I stayed strong though. We went into the little 24 hour shop that was close by and picked out a bunch of flowers for mum and a sweet each for us. This is where the pizza comes in, I don’t know if it was what I actually picked but nine times out of ten it was my sweet of choice, it just really reminds me of driving around with my dad.

We got back in the car and headed home from our little adventure, I was so excited to tell everyone about “Africa”, I had the whole story planned out in my head. Of course the grown ups played along

“Oh my goodness you’ve been gone for aaaages!”

This is how I know Jack had stopped using his imagination at some point cure the journey; we gave mum the flowers that came “all the way from Africa” and Jack exclaims

“We didn’t even go to Africa. Those are from the all night shop in Peterhead! We just looked at the boats we didn’t get on any of them, we haven’t even been gone long enough to have gone all the way to Africa its hours away!”

Well thats that then…my brother’s head is far to logical for that sort of nonsense, nothing gets past him. I was quite happy pretending but then it had always been my dream to go to Africa.

That Moment When…

That moment when… this seems to be a common opener to my Facebook status updates. My theory for this is probably because nine out ten times I write a status its about something embarrassing I have just done, for example; the other day I forgot I locked my bedroom door and tried to open it, my door is quite heavy so I usually have to put a bit of weight behind it in order for it to open. The result of this was me hurting my wrist because the door obviously did not open. The status update was this “that moment when you have forget you locked your bedroom door and try to open it with all your weight…ouch”.

That moment when…you realise your life is a series of embarrassing events. I am surprised my flatmates allow me out of the flat, in fact I am surprised my mum let me out of the house in the first place. I’m the kind of person you should keep hidden away unless you want something to go drastically wrong. Or another way to look at it would be, I’m the kind of person you keep around for entertainment value. People only laugh with me because I am laughing at myself.

That moment when…I’m not a particularly funny person joke wise. I mean I have my moments but so does everyone. I am however good for observation purposes; if someone is going to fall over, walk into something or basically make a fool of themselves then it is going to be me. Even the way I laugh is a joke, and a very bad one at that.

That moment when…you realise that your blog post is really just pointless rambling but you are going to post it anyway.