Caz Scraggs


Caz Scraggs

Having worked as a primary school teacher for nearly 5 years now I am about to embark on a new adventure. Selected as a Team Leader for ICS and Restless Development I will be spending the next 4 months working as a volunteer in the Tamil Nadu region of Southern India to support local communities with livelihood and health workshops. It will be a fantastic opportunity to support International Development work at grassroots level and to see where and how international aid is being used to support people living in some of the poorest countries in the world.

I live by the motto "Life is a journey not a destination"!

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Vellore August 24th 2014

Time is really whizzing by with now only 4 weeks of my 15 weeks left. The General Participants fly back 2 weeks today and then we will be involved in training the new National Volunteers and possibly meeting the new Team Leaders from the UK. Sadly, although I had every good intention of becoming fluent in Tamil I still only know a few phrases and have to keep saying "konjam Tamil" "Englandh" especially when their reply to my question is different from the stock phrase of I'm fine that we have learnt! I am hoping therefore that the training we will be offering will be English lessons as I might be able to manage those :-) It has been challenging travelling between two teams and trying to give all of the volunteers the support they require ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Vellore July 27th 2014

Two weeks have passed since my last blog and I have spent my time travelling between my two placements - Alangayam in the mountains with a few stalls and a small bus station and Vellore City where I have a choice of restaurants and a supermarket just 5 minutes away! Although the two are very different both areas need our help and support to educate the youths of today on health and livelihoods. The team in Vellore was lucky enough to organise a health rally in Vanjur which attracted two health inspectors as speakers and 30 members of women's self-help groups. The message of Vector Borne diseases and eliminating breeding grounds for mosquitoes by using stagnant water and recycling empty containers which might hold drops of water will hopefully be disseminated amongst the villagers. The team ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Vellore July 12th 2014

It has now been 5 weeks since I left the UK and started my summer of volunteer work in India with ICS and Restless Development. So far there have been ups and downs, frustrations and challenges but I am pleased with the work we have achieved within the local communities and hope to build on this over the coming months. Life in India this time around is very different to my holiday in the North four years ago. For a start the Tamil Nadu region feels like I'm in a different country especially with the different language. While we had a few Tamil lessons during training I have only managed to master a few basic words and sentences and being understood is a real effort. Sign language and mime help but the difficulty is exacerbated by ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta » Vinh Long April 11th 2013

Day 12 - Today we left the dazzling lights and bars of Saigon and headed for the more sedate and tranquil Mekong Delta known as "the rice bowl" of Vietnam. To reach our homestay in Cai Be we hopped on board our river boat and stopped along the way to see some small cottage industries including the making of rice paper and coconut candy and of course got to sample some of the local produce. The woman making the rice paper had three pans on the go and had to have excellent hand eye coordination and timing as it took 15 seconds to make each one. A real skill and one that she got paid per sheet, producing over 3000 a day! Back breaking, exhausting work. The highlight of the day was a canoe boat ride. ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 April 10th 2013

Day 10 - Today we caught the flight from Danang to Ho Chi Minh City. It was an afternoon flight so unfortunately we didn't arrive until later afternoon. Just time for a quick dip in the small rooftop pool before dinner and then a tour of some of the rooftop bars of Saigon. Our hotel was in an excellent location right in the heart of District One so in striking distance of Sheraton, Caravelle and Rex. There were great views over Saigon and I enjoyed working my way through the cocktail menu. It had to be a Good Morning Vietnam and Saigon, Saigon on the 9th floor at the Caravelle followed by a Cosmopolitan at the Sheraton and a boogie on the dance floor :-) A lovely way to spend an evening, just a shame we ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Da Nang » Hai Van Pass April 9th 2013

Day 7 - Today we had a long drive to Hoi An going over the beautiful and scenic Hai Van Pass. On the way we stopped to see the China Beach, the Cham museum and Marble Mountain. Here some of the caves were used by the Viet Cong during as a hospital during the Vietnam War. I was also surprised to see a giant marble Budda inside and one on the hillside which looked so white apparently it had been painted to restore it. We walked up the steps to the Mountain but there is a life on the outside which really looks out of place and was for the very lazy tourist! We will spend three nights here in Hoi An which will be a welcome rest. Day 8 - We had the morning to ... read more

Days 5-7 Luckily the sleeper trains in Vietnam are much nicer than the ones in India. I was impressed by the fact that the beds were wide enough to lay on your side and even a door that locks! There were two bunks and two sinks at the end of the corridor. Our train left Hanoi at 7pm and arrived in Hue around 8am with several stops along the way. It was nice to arrive to 35 degrees and sunshine. Excellent! We arrived at the hotel and were forced to relax by the rooftop pool while we were waiting for the rooms to be ready. What a hard life! In the afternoon we went on a walking tour of the Citadel and the Imperial Enclosure. The highlight of the day was meeting Mr Cu at the ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Thai Nguyen April 3rd 2013

Days 1-4. Having an amazing time here in Vietnam after an eventful flight from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur. We were just about to take off and the plane was ordered back to base and surrounded by police. They then came on and took off a woman and child who were trying to leave the country illegally! Luckily the two hour delay did not stop me from missing my connection to Hanoi. On day two we had a tour of Hanoi and enjoyed a visit to the "Hanoi Hilton" which is actually the prison. It was named the Hanoi Hilton by American prisoners of war. Originally built by the French to imprison Vietnamese who were against French rule it was then used by the Vietnamese during the American War. One famous inmate was John McCain the Republican ... read more

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor April 11th 2011

Well, thankfully the Egyptian sleeper train was a lot nicer than my experience of the Indian sleeper train. We actually had our own compartment with a door and a sink :-) Luckily Richard decided to keep to himself the fact that he had removed a cockroache from my bed just before we were going to sleep. A rather restless sleep due to the noise of the train so I arrived in Luxor very tired for what was to prove one of our busiest days. First stop after the station we headed to the West Bank to see the Valley of the Kings which contains the tombs of over 62 Pharaohs. Set in the hillside the tombs lead the visitor down a series of corridors and antichambers into the burial chamber and the sarcophagus. Our ticket allowed ... read more
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Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Giza April 9th 2011

Our first full day in Egypt was a real highlight of the trip as we visited the pyramids at the Giza plateau. Although our scheduled visit on the tour was not until the end of the holiday we had a welcome change to see them at the start (due to some protesting in Tahir square). There are three main pyramids Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus and the sight of them did not disappoint. Breathtaking in sheer size, creation and craftmanship and surprising to think that they have been there for thousands of years while the city of Cairo and Giza have built up around them. We had the opportunity to go inside the Great Pyramid of Cheops. It was amazing inside. We climbed steeply up into a chamber near the top of the pyramid. Inside we discovered ... read more
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