by Work the World

We know that students love to travel at the weekend and often find fantastic souvenirs or witness fascinating ceremonies. This week we are asking the students “what is the most interesting piece of local curiosity or handicraft that you have seen and tell us a bit about it.”

Sri Lanka is a treasure trove of exotic delights and crafts you can take home with you. Jan and Rebecca, 3rd year Midwifery students from New Zealand have packed their cases full of pashminas and tell us that the "batiks look really cool, they are great for wall hangings and cushions. But make sure you barter hard for them and buy them of the central market and not Queen's Hotel shop. The pashminas are really beautiful and good quality. Once again barter. Pay no more than Rs.650 for the plain and Rs. 1100 for the patterned."

Renna from Newcastle agreed "Learning how to make Batiks and then being able to buy a unique handmade piece of clothing is a great experience. I also love the Water lilies at the Temple of the Tooth. If you ask nicely and smile lots, you might get one on the house. They are the prettiest flowers!”

Louise from Manchester says the most interesting piece of local curiosity she’s seen in Argentina so far is dulce de leche. “It’s a type of spread made of milk, sugar and butter which can be found anywhere! And I’ve really enjoyed eating Alfajores, a local specialty which consists in two biscuits stuck together with dulce de leche and then covered in coconut. They are simply amazing!”

Maisie went to Córdoba for the weekend, a different province in Argentina, and stumbled across an Artisan fayre. “It had hundreds of stalls with wonderful handmade crafts, from pictures and mugs to Alpaca jumpers and jewellery. We all bought lots of things, everything was absolutely gorgeous”

Rachel in Mwanza told us about her weekend in the Serengeti National Park “It was absolutely amazing, the best weekend of my life, we saw the big 5, camped under the stars, and it was incredible. Another weekend we went to the Sukuma museum which was an interesting experience allowing us to find out lots of information on the Sukuma tribe. They even did a snake dance for us!!”

Kirsty went to the museum too, "I loved the dance plus we learned about the tradition of grinding the softest, finest flour to attract a husband!"

Beth wanted to go to church on her first weekend in Mwanza “I accidentally ended up in a Swahili language service in the local Lutheran cathedral. During the service, offerings of food were brought up to the altar and then at the end every one went into the car park and assembled in a circle. Someone from the choir distributed the food amongst members of the congregation while apparently doing some sort of comedy routine. Everyone else thought it was hilarious anyway!! I am still not sure what was going on but it was great to see!"

The beautiful bed spreads and handi crafts that are on sale in Pokhara, Nepal are really interesting and popular with visitors. The Tibetan jewellery is beautiful too and, as the vendors say, they make it here. If you barter well you can get a good bargain and makes for a good gift back home.

Sunil tells us that “in Pokhara there are a number of women’s skill development project's where the local women make amazing bags, table mats, coasters, slippers... the collection is fabulous. The main store lies just outside our house, on the main street and what's nice is they custom make it too.”

Another thing of curiosity has to be Nepali momo.....what goes inside it?!

Jennifer in Dar es Salaam found the city to be a twisted maze. She also visited a local church “the Janitor offered to take us up the bell tower which (although there were small creaky steps and I’m terrified by the heights) was definitely worth it. The view of the coast of Dar was great and amazing to see behind the clock and look at the bells.”

David picked up some treats at Slipway “My favourite is the Maasai Stick. It’s sort of wooden club used for taking down lions on the Savanna but also good for abusing roommates with usual cost 5000 TSH which works out at around £2." Rachel told us that the “Mwenge carvings market has lot of interesting handicrafts including a 3-4m tall giraffe (Twiga) wooden carving.  It was so huge but I have no clue how to get it home! Instead I bought a Boa board which is a local game.” Toby added “I was taught the rules to “BOA” this week which is unlike any game I’ve ever played before and very good fun” Maybe next week we will ask the students for the instructions!

Jonathan really recommends asking Rashid to take you to the football “It isn’t that impressive but the atmosphere is absolutely incredible and the locals love it if you cheer for their team!”

People are always talking about the great Busy Bees cover bands in Pokhara and last week some of our students in Mwanza ended up going to the Serengeti Fiesta where they got to see Shaggy as well as a whole host of local bands. This week we have decided to ask the houses “Are you enjoying the local music and is there a type of music or song that has defined your stay?” See you back here next week with the answers.

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