Colombian birds update

By Brae:

This weekend we went to Minca again and we saw even more amazing birds than the last visit.

Last time we were walking for hours but we only saw a toucan from far far away. So we went back to Minca and this time we did see a toucan and it was the best view of a toucan ever!!! It landed on a tree really near us and did not fly away for ages so we could get really good photos of it and focus on it with our binoculars! The toucan was so many different colours and it was amazing.

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To see a toucan was a thing that we had been wanting to do for ages so when we saw it we were so so happy! It was like a wish come true.

We also saw three different fabulous blue birds. One pale blue, one really dark blue and a blue headed parrot (but we could only see its head because it was in a tree).

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Blue-grey Tanager
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Blue-headed parrot
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Red-legged Honeycreeper

One thing I can tell you is if you want to see birds, go to Minca!

minca2-16As well as seeing amazing tropical birds we also saw some birds that you will probably recognise!

 

The first Colombian birds post can be found here.

Not normal for Norfolk!

By Brae:

A while ago my Grampa made a comment on the blog and he said that maybe we’re getting so used to things in Colombia that we don’t even think about some of the things that are different in our life here. He said:

“Maybe you could do a blog entitled: ‘Now I think of it… here’s what’s different about an ordinary day in Santa Marta… I already take these things for granted, but now I think about them, they’re like nothing I’ve seen or done before…”

We thought this was a good idea so this week, just when we were going to school as normal, we tried to notice the things that we’ve got used to, and remember that they really aren’t at all like life in England. My dad asked us to look for things that would not be normal if we saw them in Norfolk!

  1. We see pelicans flying past and iguanas and lizards on the wallspelicannnfn-2-2
  2. I haven’t worn long sleeves or trousers for 8 weeks, even when we go out at night!
  3. Like I told you, people sometimes ruffle our hair as they walk past us
  4. Having a cold shower is just completely normal!
  5. The road to school hasn’t been built yet so it’s all dust
  6. We see stray cats, ducks, chickens, geese, big packs of dogs and donkeys all the time on wrecked streets (there is really a lot of rubbish here). These photos were taken on our way to school:nnfn-5nnfn-6
  7. Arepas, patacones and empanadas just seem like really normal food now. As normal as toast, chips and pizza!
  8. It seems normal to buy our breakfast at the side of the road on the way to school
  9. We don’t really think about not having a seat belt in a taxi or the crazy driving and beeping horns. By the way, you can have as many people in a taxi as you can squeeze in – sometimes 7 people in a tiny car!
  10. People here don’t talk about the weather because it’s always exactly the same. Boiling hot.
  11. We have got used to having bug spray and sun cream as soon as we wake up and now we do it really quickly
  12. If someone has no crash helmet (and no t-shirt on!) on a motorbike we just look at it like its normal now. (But we’re still not completely used to seeing small children and babies on the front of a motorbike, even though that happens a lot too!)
  13. We eat mangos and pineapples and passionfruits all the time, even on our cereal
  14. When we go in the sea we never, and I mean never, get cold, and there are tropical fish swimming all around your legs
  15. There are huge cactuses and palm trees everywherennfn-4
  16. On the way to school we see mangoes on the pavement where they’ve fallen off the trees and we just step over them like rubbish. IMG_8101

It’s weird how we were really amazed by lots of these things when we first arrived and it all seemed so strange and sometimes even made me a bit nervous but now it seems normal. I’m going to try to remember that when I am doing something new that I don’t really want to do, because now I know that I should just try it and I’ll get used to it.

I’m even used to getting up at 5.45am every day!

Weird stuff update: Colombian manners

By Oren:

In Colombia, you have to be a bit careful what you do as some things that aren’t rude in England might be rude in Colombia! There are different rules about what is rude or what isn’t.

One of the things that is fine in England but is rude in some parts of Colombia is measuring with your fingers. For example, my teacher Mr Frost really likes fishing and if he caught a really big fish and then showed you how long it was using his fingers you would think it was normal. But in some parts of Colombia the people here would be shocked about how he was measuring things! I don’t know why but doing that means something really rude.IMG_8037 The way to measure things in Colombia is by putting one hand up your arm and the distance between the tips of your fingers and your hand is how long the thing is.

IMG_8041One of the other things that isn’t very rude in England is beckoning with one finger.
It means something rude too but I only discovered you shouldn’t do this here recently.

mannersThe last thing I found out was that if you show how tall someone is with your hand horizontally, that’s rude too. You have to have your hand vertical because you only have your hand horizontally if you’re talking about an animal. So if you do that about a person then they think you’re calling them an animal and they really don’t like it.

There are also things that would be rude in England that aren’t in Colombia. One of the things is that waiters in restaurants clear your plate as soon as you finish your last bite, before anyone else has finished! The other thing that is not very good manners in England is people saying they’ll do something ‘ahorita’ (now) and then not doing it for hours or days, or saying they’ll do something ‘mañana’ (tomorrow) and then not doing it until next week, or never!

The first weird stuff post can be found here.

And in case you don’t already know, we’re now trying to do something amazing and really help children in Colombia. Check out our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

Money

By Oren:

In Colombia the value of money is very different. They have pesos instead of pounds and one pound is five thousand pesos! Things in Colombia usually cost at least one thousand pesos, but you can still get things for much less than you would get them for in England.

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For example, a few times a week we go out to breakfast to an ‘arepa’ stall and the last time we went, Brae’s breakfast was an arepa with sugar and aniseed and it cost 500 pesos (ten pence) and mine was an empanada stuffed with meat for 1,000 pesos (twenty pence). icecreamAlso, you can go out for lunch and get a pretty large set meal with a soup, fish, coconut rice, salad and patacones with a lovely fresh tropical fruit juice for between 7,000 and 15,000 pesos (£1.40-£3)! Lastly, this ice cream cost me 60p!

At first we were just thinking how cool it was that things were so cheap then I found out that some of the parents of the children we met at the football game, who come from La Lucha, only earn about 5,000 pesos (£1) a day. So they might have to find cheap food, and lunch for 7,000 pesos doesn’t sound so cheap any more! So now we realise how lucky we are.

So, if you think about what people can buy here with just a few British pounds, your donations to our fundraising page could really make an impact on these children’s lives, even if it just seems like a small amount to you. So please keep donating if you can. Here is our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

Thank you!

 

Simón Bolívar

By Brae:

The reason I wrote this post is because my class in Norfolk (Emerald class) are learning about Colombia for their topic. I am really happy that my friends are learning about Colombia so I wanted to help them by telling them about Colombia’s history. Last week we went to a place near where we live that told you all about the life of someone called Simón Bolívar and I learnt lots of things about Colombia. There was also a really cool tree there to climb on.

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Before 1499, there were lots of tribes living in Colombia. They didn’t all live together, they lived separately. They believed different things and they spoke different languages and some hunted their food and travelled around following after the animals they hunted.

In 1499, some Spanish explorers arrived in Colombia on boats. The head explorer was Christopher Columbus but it was some of his friends who actually came. They built Santa Marta as their first city.

The Spanish saw that lots of the tribespeople had gold and emeralds and jewels. They wanted to find the gold city and take all the gold and jewels back to Spain. The Spanish beat all the tribes and called Colombia theirs. They named it New Granada and they built more great cities like Bogotá that is now Colombia’s capital city.

For 300 years Spain ruled Colombia (New Granada). The Spanish called in thousands of slaves from Africa, so Colombia was then a mix of 3 different people, the Spanish, the tribes and the Africans, and the Spanish had all the power.

But some of the people were not happy with what the Spanish were doing. One of the people who was not happy about it was called Simón Bolívar. He got himself an army of rebels and called war on the Spanish. He wanted Colombia to be in charge of itself instead of Spain ruling it.

Simón Bolívar took down the Spanish and in 1821 he made a new country called Gran Colombia but it was much bigger than Colombia is now because it covered all of Colombia and Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela and some bits of Peru and Brazil.

But later on he fell ill from an illness in his lungs. They sent a doctor to him but when the doctor arrived he was already too ill so he died. We went to the place where he died and it is now a Simón Bolívar museum.

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When he died he thought that he still hadn’t done his mission. His mission was to make Gran Colombia a single country that was really big and powerful but when Simón Bolívar was dying all the people were planning to break it up into smaller counties (like it is now).

I think that quite sad that Simón Bolívar fought all his life but then when he died he still felt bad.

BolivarWhen you walk around Colombia you see statues everywhere and museums about Simón Bolívar and lots of parks and streets named after him so he must be a very important person to Colombia. People think he is a hero and that he freed Colombia from the Spanish.

I might not have wrote down everything about Simón Bolívar but I think that what I have written is true and I wrote this completely on my own.

 

And in case you don’t already know, we’re now trying to do something amazing and really help children in Colombia. Check out our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

Colombian faces

By Brae:

Sometimes ladies on the street smile at me and Oren and ruffle our hair when they walk past us when we are on our way to school. Other times, like once when I was in the supermarket with my mum, the lady behind us in the queue was telling the check out lady and the man who was helping with the packing to look at the colour of my eyes and my skin and freckles. She was doing it in a nice way because our eyes are a different colour than the people here, because nearly everyone in Colombia has brown eyes.

We think that everyone knows that we are English.

Imagine if everyone in Colombia did not like us or gave us funny looks or were unfriendly because our skin and eyes were a different colour. That would make our trip to Colombia not fun at all. I wish that everyone in the world was like Colombian people because they seem to be friendly to people even if they look really different.

Here are some photos of different Colombian faces that my mum took at carnival. You can see that they don’t look much like me but I like looking at all the different faces here.

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And in case you don’t already know, we’re now trying to do something amazing and really help children in Colombia. Check out our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

World famous update

Here’s a quick update on our blog statistics. Thank you to everyone who has helped us colour in some new countries on our world map!

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As well as all the places we told you about in the first ‘World Famous!‘ post, people are now reading our blog in Argentina, Israel, New Zealand, Japan and Spain. Awesome!

We now have 310 readers in the UK and 110 in Colombia!

If you know anyone who might be interested in our adventure who lives in a country that is still grey on our map, please tell them about our blog.

And in case you don’t already know, we’re now trying to do something amazing and really help children in Colombia. Check out our fundraising page: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

You can read the original World Famous post here

This is a special post

By Oren:

This is a special post as this isn’t just for fun. I’m not just writing this blog today to tell you what we’ve done this week. I’m writing it because I want to help some Colombian children we met and we need your help.

While we are in Colombia, my mum is volunteering at a charity called Tiempo de Juego (Play Time). Tiempo de Juego help children who come from a poor neighbourhood of the city near us, called La Lucha. Lots of children who live there have very different lives from me and Brae and most of our friends. They don’t have water or electricity in their houses or doctors if they get sick. Also, lots of them don’t have a dad living with them and their mum has to go to work to earn money so they don’t have anyone looking after them after school and there are some scary and dangerous things happening where they live.

Tiempo de Juego organises football clubs for children, so that they have something good to do. Also, when they go there they can learn from older children that joined the football club when they were young who can tell them how to keep away from the bad things in their neighbourhood, stay safe and have a better life.

Because my mum is working there we got invited to a charity football match. It is quite interesting as when they play football in their clubs the games have three parts. First, the children in both teams agree on some rules at the beginning. Everyone has to come up with the rules and there is no referee or grown up to decide the rules for them. footballed-2For example, they might say that a girl has to score the first goal (loads of girls play football in the clubs), or that play stops if someone gets hurt, or that everyone in both teams has to celebrate when someone scores a goal, and things like that. Then they play the football game. Then the third part is when the teams get together to decide who has won, and it’s not necessarily the team that scored the most goals! It is also about which team followed the rules best that they agreed at the beginning.

footballed-4So, last Wednesday we went to a special pitch (it was special because the famous Colombian footballer Carlos Alberto Valderrama, otherwhise known as Pibe Valderrama, played on it when he was a little boy) and we watched another charity play against Tiempo de Juego. In the middle of one of the matches the team instructor came up to us and asked if we wanted to play! We were a bit nervous at first because we didn’t know what the rules were, but we soon got the hang of it and before long we felt really part of the team.

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In my match my team played well but the other team scored more goals ☹ but after the match we talked about who followed the rules best and we gave points. The score in points was, us: 7 and them: 5, so we won! ☺

I wonder if Mr Brown might want to do a match like this in training to see how it goes?

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about these children and I feel sad that they don’t have the simple things they need in life. So Brae and I have made a fundraising page and we really, really hope that it can make a difference to their lives.

Here is the link for anyone donating money in the UK: EverettsInColombiaFundraising

Or if you are in Colombia or somewhere else, you can give money directly to Tiempo de Juego: DonateTiempodeJuego

If anyone felt that they could make a donation we would be so happy and we’d feel like our blog was really doing some good, apart from just talking about our adventure.

We hope to see our new friends from Tiempo de Juego again so we will tell you more about them next time.

Thank you, friends, family and all our blog readers that we haven’t even met yet!

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More Minca

By Brae:

Even though we’ve already explained to you about some great things we did in Minca, we have not told you about all of it yet. There was too much fun stuff to tell you in only one go, so here are a few other things we did there that we haven’t mentioned yet.

In Colombia, it is so hot that you can grow things that you can’t grow in England, like chocolate! more minca-7When we were in Minca we went to have lunch one day. It was kind of a restaurant but it was really just two small tables in the garden of someone’s house in the middle of nowhere. We had some yummy food that the family who lived there made and we bought a necklace, to give to our little cousin, that the daughter of the family had made out of clay. For pudding we had some fresh chocolate and the lady showed us that it grew from her cocoa tree in the back garden. The case of the chocolate (called a cocoa pod) is green instead of brown like I imagined it. Here is a picture of one if you do not believe me. The chocolate tree had bags over the pods so the squirrels did not eat them.

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Another thing I remember from Minca is when we were finishing one of our tours Niall said he knew a nice place for lunch and our minds changed to a nice air conditioned room with walls to escape the boiling temperature. more minca-5We were all taken by a big surprise when we arrived.
We were staring at a little shelter with no walls. There were four wooden tables with wooden benches, and one of the tables had huge chunks of ribs laid across it. There was no proper bathroom as it was just a bucket of water for washing your hands. Also, there was a little oven made of bricks with all sorts of meat being cooked. The floor was just made of mud and lots of stray chickens, dogs and cats were wandering around all over the place. more minca-4The owner was really nice and he started to cut up the cooked ribs and said we were allowed to try some for free! It was really tasty so I had some ribs just like that for lunch as I liked it so much. As you can see, restaurants in Colombia are very different to ones in England! But we had a really nice meal with Niall and our new friends Sarah, John, Karen and Darren and they had beer and fizzy drinks too so everyone was happy.more minca

When we got back to Niall’s house,
we were looking out of our balcony and in the distance my mum and dad were quite surprised to see Oren wielding a machete around, cutting off a bunch of bananas. Most grown ups don’t give you a massive machete and ask you to chop through the jungle but Niall isn’t like a normal boring grown up! Of course I thought it looked fun so I ran out there to have a go too!

 

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So you can tell how many amazing memories we have of Minca, so you might not be surprised that before we go back to England, we would really like to go back there and do another tour with Niall where you cover yourself in mud and wash it off in a waterfall. So this might not be last you hear about Minca so stand by!

You can read the original post here

Free diving

By Brae and Oren:

In our last few posts we told you about statistics and school, but now we want to remind you how many really, really fun things we’re doing in Colombia…in case you forgot!

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Our friend Maryline, who is my mum and dad’s Spanish teacher, helped us go on an incredible diving lesson on Sunday. Her boyfriend Camilo, and his cousin José are both diving teachers. And because we are friends with Maryline, we had an extra special experience!

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dive1-13We went to a beach called Playa Blanca (white beach) and the only way to get there is by boat. When we arrived, no one was there and so we had the whole beach to ourselves, apart from a little dog and its owner, who has a restaurant on the beach.

dive1-8First we climbed up a hill so we could see the view. From the top we could see black smudges in the water. José told us that they were schools of sardines.

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For our lesson, José took us into the water and gave us our masks and snorkels and told us important things you need to know if you want to go free diving. Free diving is when you can dive right down underwater with your snorkel, not just staying on the top. We practiced all the tips he gave us and he said we were doing really well so we set off to the other side of the beach, got our flippers and he told us how to use them.

dive-17We went diving near a rocky cliff and there was amazing coral and all kinds of incredible fish and sea anemones. We were amazed about all the different colours of the fish. It felt like being in an aquarium.

About half way along the cove José spotted a puffer fish swimming around among the coral. He dived down and gently urged it up towards the surface by putting his hand near its nose but not actually touching it. We were lucky enough to touch it, extremely gently, and it felt like silk because it wasn’t frightened or puffed up. When they’re puffed up they have spikes that point out so they’re like a balloon with spikes on. We would have liked to see it puff up but we didn’t want to make it frightened. While we were diving we didn’t touch the coral as we didn’t want to damage it and also José told us that the orange parts of the coral would really sting if you even put one finger on it.

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We feel really lucky to have this great experience and to have friends like Maryline, Camilo and José to help us do something so extraordinary that we will never forget.

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