Judith R. Sanders


Judith R. Sanders

Retirees leaving MA winters and having amazing adventures.

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island March 16th 2010

Our trip through the North Island of New Zealand Our meandering around the North Island (NI) after the Gisborne build was filled with vistas of rolling greenery, more sightings of cows than sheep (NZ is supposed to have 4 million people and 40 million sheep but the dairy prices are tempting the sheep farmers to convert to milking cows), visits to amazing botanic gardens, and lots of good eating. We traveled for two weeks on the left side of the road by car (one of those anxiety-filled expectations that turned out to be easier than imagined) from Auckland in the north down to the capital of NZ, Wellington, at the most southern tip of the North Island stopping for 2 or 3 days in each town or city along the way to see the local ... read more
Waiheki Island near Auckland
Preparing to go into the caves in Waitomo
The rolling hills and vegetation of the North Island

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Gisborne February 25th 2010

On February 8th David and I, and 13 other members of the Global Vilage Habitat for Humanity team, were welcomed by the family whose house we were going to build. We were in Gisborne, New Zealand, the most easterly town in NZ (the first to experience the sunrise as the sun crosses the International Date Line). The family (Makere, her husband Tukake and their many children, grandchildren and relatives) greeted us with traditional Maori song and dance, including a war dance by their son which looked ferocious but was more startling than frightening (see the fellow with the spear). We were thrilled by the performance then somewhat surprised when we were asked to sing a song in return. Here we were, a newly formed group of 4 older couples (yes, David and I are in that ... read more
The Welcome Dance
David and Bob painting
Carma supervising Jan, Christina and Marychris (Tutkake

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh March 17th 2007

About our Work Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development was established in 1992, by a group of local Khmer students who, at the time, were studying English behind the Royal Place. Peter Pond, an American and his foster Khmer-American son, supported these local youth in establishing an organization that would educate and empower poor people while encouraging them to become active volunteers in their communities. They named the organization “Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development”. Initial funding for the start up of CVCD was given by generous individuals and by the King of Cambodia who donated $ 2000 USD. Today, CVCD has a budget of about $250,000 to support its projects and administrative costs. Currently, CVCD has 4 major programs to train and support Cambodia’s poor. We described the Primary School Program in our first blog. This program, ... read more
The children and the Director
Community Leaders Discussing the Future of the Schools
Judy with School Program Manager Dara

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh March 9th 2007

Travels in Cambodia The years of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were among the most horrific civil wars in history. Not only were millions killed and the country physically destroyed, virtually all of Cambodia’s educated classes - doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers, teachers, and, perhaps the single most chilling fact, anyone who wore glasses (because that meant they could read) - were eliminated, many of them in the infamous “killing fields.” And then, after Viet Nam had invaded Cambodia and defeated the Khmer Rouge, there were 10 years of a US-European embargo against the Vietnam-supported regime, a critical decade when aid was withheld or kept to a minimum. So it is not surprising that Cambodia is less developed than Thailand and some of its other neighbors. However, it seems that development is starting a... read more
The Wedding party
At Bokor National Park
No More Weapons

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh February 17th 2007

The Executive Director, Sarath Doeur, of our NGO took us on a trip the first day of our assignment with the organization to a number of places on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, a city whose central area is ringed with magnificent palaces and beautiful, new governmental offices and whose boulevards are lined with gardens, promenades, and parks. We drove first to what seemed to be an industrial backwater and rode along the railroad tracks lined with shacks whose inhabitants were methodically laying river snails along the tracks to dry out for later sale in the markets. Mothers were sitting on the ground outside their homes surrounded by babies and toddlers cooking meals for the day or products to be sold on the downtown streets. The anorexic dogs and semi-naked children sniffed and romped in the ... read more
The smiling students
The front of the school
The Executive Director enjoying the role of teacher for a moment

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 21st 2007

Arriving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Here we are again in an amazing Asian city. It’s a year after our time in Sri Lanka and we can’t help but compare and contrast the two places. They both are vibrant, multilayered, exciting cities. What struck us most as we drove into Phnom Penh from the Airport on Wednesday night was the lack of traffic compared to Colombo, Sri Lanka. It’s a city of slightly over 1 million people but, there were no trucks, no buses (there is no public transportation in Phnom Penh) and not that many cars. There are lots of motos (motor bikes) driven mostly by young men in their late teens and early twenties. There are bicycles, and tuk-tuks (you may remember our stories of the harrowing drivers we had in Colombo last year). We ... read more
Our Landlady and her husband
Our apartment on the second floor with the door open
Our guide and driver, Lucky

Asia March 1st 2006

This weekend we went on our last visit to the interior of Sri Lanka, traveling to some of the sites within what is known as the cultural triangle. One of the most famous is Sigiriya rock, a United Nations Heritage site, that stands 200 meters above its base and that once was the fortress of a king who lived there from 477 to 495 AD. We learned about the bloody end to this amazing king’s reign and the engineering feats that brought water to the beautiful pools and irrigated gardens at the top of the rock and the moats, catapults, and walls that kept his enemies away. David and I climbed the rickety steps (1202 of them) along with many others who huffed and puffed their way to the top in the early morning heat. ... read more
The Sigiriya Boulder Garden
The Amazing Climb
David and the Buddhas

Asia February 21st 2006

We left Colombo at 8 am on Friday for our 200 km journey to the hill country and arrived at our destination at about 6 in the evening. I could dwell on the miserable roads and terrible driving conditions that our driver faced and the one hour standstill in Belagoda that slowed our trip, but I won’t. Instead let me tell you that we had a lovely time during the ride listening to more of our Elmore Leonard tape, taking pictures of the children returning home in a tuk-tuk after school (during the one hour wait), and enjoying the rich and beautiful scenery. (You can see how sweet the children are and their parents are equally friendly.) It had been threatening rain all afternoon. Unfortunately, it just poured when we got to our hotel --- a ... read more
Children in Balangoda going home in the tuk-tuk
David reading on the porch of the tree house
Tree house suspension bridge

Asia February 9th 2006

Kandy is considered the Sinhalese capital of Sri Lanka. Located on a wide plain surrounded by a ring of guardian mountains in central SL, it was difficult for the invading/colonizing foreigners to succeed in taking over the region. As a result, it retains its reputation as the last bastion of independent Buddhist thought and succeeds in holding on to many of the traditional cultural and spiritual rituals of the early people of Ceylon. David and I hired a driver to take us there on Saturday. On the way, we stopped at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. You can see some of the pictures we took of the elephants enjoying their bath in the river. These elephants, hurt or abandoned, are raised at the Orphanage until they are trained to become working animals. The babies were so ... read more
Baby and Daddy
Judy being rather brave
Elephants in the river

Asia February 1st 2006

We'll be in Sri Lanka 2 weeks tomorrow and I can't believe how settled in we feel or how much we like it. D and I are both surprised that I would love this bustling and, well, very dirty and polluted city. Yet there's a vibrancy to it and the people are so warm and friendly and have such dignity. We couldn't have been greeted more warmly by our NGO or the host of our guest house. We've been working hard (see below for some detail) and last weekend went on our first holiday to the coast. The trip was 64 kilometers and took 2 hours on a two lane road filled with buses and trucks, cars and three wheelers darting around one another and tooting their horns to let the vehicles around know that they ... read more
Our patio in Bentota
The train between the beach & hotel

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