Quick Life Update (August 2014)

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Usually I have some sort of topic in mind before I start writing a post, not today. I guess an update if kind of a topic but still it leaves a lot to the imagination. This post could be about anything!

Firstly it is about my new flat! I looooove my new flat, it is spacious, it is kind of hipster, it has a garden (I know right, like wow) and when Evie gets back from her Southern Hemisphere adventuring it will be filled with the best people I know. So you could say it is perfect, there is one problem and it is only a little one and since we moved in there have been less and less of them and really when you think about what flat/house doesn’t have them… SPIDERS! and not just little squish it with a shoe type spiders, these things are freaky as anything you can imagine. Still, I loooove my flat!

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Some would say that the spiders are not the only problem (some probably wouldn’t even see them as a problem) but I can’t see any flaws, maybe I refuse to. For people who don’t know Aberdeen very well I feel like I should explain the area that I live in; simply, it’s well dodge! Actually it’s not that bad, it looks bad especially to “Grown-Ups” (even though I am 20 now I still do not class my self as an adult, that is just to weird for me to handle) but really it is probably one of the better areas down by the harbour… By day it is an ordinary alley-way with a warehouse on one side of the flat and a gloomy tunnel to the other side. I won’t say more than that for fear of unwanted visitors discovering the location of my secret base, although if you are reading my blogs then I’m sure you are a lovely person 🙂

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Ok now that you have seen my flat this post is also about my family holiday to Ireland. Wowcha it was warm! Although I am told that we picked a lucky week and usually it rains aallll the time, so pretty much exactly like Scotland then?

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Highlight of the trip for me has to be the Giant’s Causeway. As I told my mum “it is the only reason I actually wanted to come to Ireland we haaave to to go.” So we drove from our rented house in Southern Ireland for over two hours all the way up into Northern Ireland to see it. It was completely worth it! I do wish there had been less people there, they were ruining all my photos *huffy face*.

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Managed to get one with no people 🙂

Thirdly it is about trying disastrously to be healthy. I suck at all things healthy; I eat chocolate non stop, I never do any sort of organised exercise, walking up hill just about kills me and what even are vegetables??

I joined my local Pure Gym, I have been a total of two times, once with my flat mate Leanne to check out the changing rooms and once for my Gym induction so in total I have done zero exercise, but hey I only joined last week. Ok so I know that I am completely failing at the exercise so far but next week I vow to go to the gym and do a work out at least once, hopefully twice because I really need to.

As far as the healthy eating goes, well it goes better actually *achievement unlocked!* Since my boyfriend is staying with me for a little bit, and has been cooking for me (which is awesome because if I’m honest I am so lost in the kitchen without him), I have tried Salmon for the first time in ages. Anyone who knows me will know that I absolutely hate fish, well not anymore! Yeah suck on that taste buds, its called maturity. Other improvements include; eating Granola for breakfast instead of chocolate cereal, I now take no sugar in my tea, my fridge has had actual vegetables in it that I actually bought by myself and I have not bought myself a chocolate bar since I got back from Ireland. RESULT!

 

But seriously though I need to go to the gym like ASAP

 

I hope you enjoyed my little ramble about my life, please come back for more soon

Peace out,

Aileen xx

Morocco – 22nd of June

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Our last day in the village of Marigha. We felt so welcomed and accepted by the people in the village that it made us sad to think we had to leave. I know that we will all miss the children so much. In terms of building work we were back to sand chaining and shovelling. We wrote our names in chalk, along with the footballer names the children had given us, on the walls that we plastered the day before. Just like that it was lunch time.

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There was so much going on after lunch; parachute games, frisbees, skipping, chase and ball games. Just before dinner we had a game of football with the older boys in the village. I think it is safe to say football is not really my game, although I did manage to tackle someone with only minor injuries. Then they put me in goals… bad idea, I prefer to run away from the ball rather than dive in front of it.

After dinner we went to the house next door where they had prepared some cous cous, some people tried their luck at eating it traditionally by making it into a ball and just eating it off your hand. Unfortunately I am allergic to cous cous but it was really old fun to watch everyone trying to through handfuls of it into there mouths.

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We then went back up to our house where the villagers were waiting for us to show us some traditional drums and dancing. It was an amazing experience to be involved in the dancing and some sort of take on the conga in which I ended up piggybacking one of the younger boys because he couldn’t reach my shoulders!

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So this concludes my Moroccan Adventure. It was one of the most amazing experiences and I feel so privileged to have been a part of it. In the speeches that were given that night the village council told us how grateful they were for what we had done for them but I want to just say that I am grateful to everyone involved in making this project happen, to the village for taking us in and trusting us to build such an important feature in their community and to friends I made along the way.

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THANK YOU AND THE END

Morocco – 21st of June

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Plastering walls in Morocco essentially consists of throwing cement at walls. We spent the day being taught the technique that means the cement actually sticks to the wall; this does not mean that the cement actually stuck to the wall.DSCN0329

The children were waiting outside the house wanting to play after we finished building, so played music on our phones and had a dance off which was hilariously fun. I was attacked by tiny children wanting to play catch (they wanted me to chase them and then tickle them pretty much), by the time I got to tea I was absolutely exhausted from the heat.

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After dinner we all sat in our “Scottish Room” and ate our junk food and chatted for ages; which made it really difficult to get to sleep when everybody left…

TO BE CONTINUED

Morocco – 20th of June

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I think the villagers were becoming more used to us being there, we had a bigger audience at the build site and even a couple of the local girls came out to see what we were doing. One of the the girls wanted to give us a hand with the building, she must have been about thirteen or fourteen, so she joined our sand chain.

We played outside the house again after lunch and the girls joined in as well, up until then it had only been boys that had wanted to play, but now the girls were playing with the parachute and the football and duck duck goose. I discovered that duck duck goose can actually be a very dangerous game if you play it in the mountains, as I dramatically slid into my spot while being chased by a 7 year old around the circle. My legs (which were already covered in bruises from the buckets) were now cover in scratches from my ankle to my knee.

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We met out side out house at four o’clock so that our guides could take us to visit the local salt mines and for a hike around the village. We walked down to the mines and they explained to us how the salt water is taken up from the wells in buckets and put into the reservoir, it is then let into large, shallow, concrete squares on the ground and left to dry out for three days in the sun. Then the salt is bagged and taken to the local markets for sale.

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From the mines we walked up behind the village to where the castle was and started our mini hike from there. We walked all along back of the village and up onto the foothills of the mountains above. Some of the older children joined us, they seemed to have no problem with the steep slopes or the heat as they ran ahead of us. The views were incredible. We could see the whole village from the highest point on our walk.

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We were so exhausted from our hike and the heat of the day. After tea we went to the local shop and bought a bottle of ice cold Pepsi each which was a perfect way to end our day…

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TO BE CONTINUED

Morocco – 18th of June

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The first thing I did in the morning was look across to the the mountains opposite us. The clouds were tucked in-between them, just under their peaks, hugging the sides like fluffy white glaciers. It was a beautiful start to my day.

We had a free afternoon after our morning’s work on the building site so Imogen, Lorna and I went explore the village a little bit. We walked up to the castle that Abdul had taken us to on the first day and the hills next to it. We then decided to go somewhere new and followed a path that went past the castle and back into the village but we had never been to this part before. While we were trying to decide which way to go next some of the villagers start talking to us. Of course we had no idea what they were saying so Lorna tried speaking french to them, which worked until they exhausted her knowledge of french and both sides settled with pointing at things.

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We met for tea at the usual time but instead of going to the main house for it, we were invited to one of the local builder’s house where they would show us how to make traditional Moroccan Mint Tea. We sat around a long room on the floor which was covered with brightly coloured mats and cushions to put behind our backs. Abdul was sitting down at the far end with a tray full of various tea related items and began explaining how they made their tea

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After the tea had been boiled for five to ten minutes we were each given a glass and some traditionally baked bread. I had really started to like the mint tea but I still had to wait for it to get to at least room temperature before attempting to drink it.

When we came back from dinner there was a good fire burning outside the local cafe type thing that was under our house. The children were sticking branches in the fire and chasing each other while spinning these branches around. They found this game hilarious fun but all I could think of was that it would end in someone getting burnt. As far as I know no children were hurt by flaming branches of doom that night…

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TO BE CONTINUED

VLOG – Mint Tea and Saturday Markets

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Here is a blog of the first three days of my trip to Morocco for you to enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLcbUBP9wbU. This is the first VLOG i have ever done and it to me two days to get it uploaded to YOUTUBE, stupid internet…

Also check out my Morocco Highlights video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7P2sWOim9o

Advanced warning the highlights video will only work on a computer due to copyright (I used songs by American Authors and Imagine Dragons).

Morocco – 17th of June

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A lot of sand chaining happened today (pretty much we lined up and passed buckets of sand down the chain and then the empty buckets back up the chain). Some people were also continuing with cement mixing and wall building. I have to say that chains really are the most efficient way of moving heavy things about that I have ever seen. I think this method should be used a lot more than it is being used now. It definitely taught me about team work and how important communication with in it (I’ll be using that lines in future interview *winky face*).
Between Lunch and tea we got to meet some of the children from the village, we took the parachute out that Imogen had brought with her and taught them some games. We also taught them the “Hokey Kokey” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. They sang us the National Anthem of Morocco, a song about a cat who had his piece of fat stolen by a dog and then they started singing Shakira’s 2010 world cup song “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) much to our surprise, off course we joined in and they seemed equally surprised. It was a great moment

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We really wanted them to do some dancing but they were to shy because some of the older boys were watching, so we decided to do the Macarena and Abdul got them all to join in which was so much fun, even though we didn’t know the words at all! After a long discussion with the group one of the yonder boys ran off , when we asked why he had run away they told us he had gone to get a drum. The boys then started singing with a beat from the drum and also a squashed, empty Pringles can that was rhythmically being hit on a stone by one of the children. It was amazing to listen to and very hard not to dance to.

It was great to finally meet the children who were going to be using the education centre once it was complete. I think it definitely showed me that all the stress from fundraising and saving and organising transport down to London was worth every single minute of the time I had put into it…

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TO BE CONTINUED

Morocco – 16th of June

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I was woken at five in the morning by the prayer call from the village mosque, I thought it was a dream. I was even more sure when I asked Imogen and Lorna if they had heard it and they said they hadn’t, especially when I could have sworn I asked Imogen what time it was when it woke me.

Utterly confused, I headed to breakfast where I asked around and it turned out I wasn’t going crazy because some of the others had heard it as well. Breakfast for me was crumpet/bread things with jam which was a much better start to my day.

Walls seemed to be popping up everywhere as we worked during the morning, you could turn your back for one minute and when you turned around again you would be in a completely different room from the person you had been standing next to. We could see where the class rooms were and where the toilet was going to be, it was beginning to look more like a functional building.DSCN0049

We stargazed again that night and we were joined by some of the Aberyswyth people, if only they had stayed out a little longer they would have seen the three amazing shooting starts that shot through the night sky. I had never seen shooting stars that clearly, especially the last one; we could see the bright white meteor and its tail perfectly against the dark black of the sky. It was absolutely beautiful…

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TO BE CONTINUED

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