World famous!

By Oren and Brae:

We have a page on our blog that shows us the statistics. It tells us how many people are enjoying our blog and where they are. We didn’t have the statistics on the blog before 4 February so we don’t know how many people looked at it before then, but since 4 February we have had 323 visitors, 1,467 page views and 149 comments! We also know that at least one other school apart from Colby is looking at our blog to learn about Colombia. It is a school in Scotland and we don’t even know the children there. We think this is really awesome because now we know that our blog is useful not only to Colby but to other schools too – ‘hola’ to our readers in Scotland!

The other thing that is so incredible is that we can see all the different places where people are reading the blog. We have a map and every time someone looks at our blog, the country they are from goes blue! And it keeps getting darker and darker blue the more people look at it in that country. So, England is very, very dark blue by now and Colombia is dark blue too.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 19.08.05

Here is a list of countries that are blue so far:

  • Europe: UK, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Switzerland
  • Middle East: United Arab Emirates, Qatar
  • Americas: USA, Canada, Colombia, Brazil
  • Africa: South Africa
  • Australasia: Australia.

Isn’t that brilliant! We are world famous now!

Our top 4 countries for readers are UK (178 readers), Colombia (78 readers), USA (23 readers) and Australia (12).

Now we have a mission for you! If you know anyone who is in another country please tell them about the blog because we would love to see more countries on our map going blue (especially Russia, China or India because they are so big, or Africa as we only have one country there so far)! Please send them our blog address www.everettsincolombia.co.uk and tell them to take a look!

If you give someone the address, don’t forgot to write a comment below saying you’ve done it and then we can tell you when that country goes blue (or bluer) on the map.

Thank you very much for your help!

School 2

By Oren:

Two weeks ago, Brae and I had our first day at Colombian school. I was a bit nervous but it turned out to be awesome!

Our new school is called Colegio los Manglares. This means school of the mangroves. Mangroves are plants that grow where there is a mix of fresh water and salt water, like where the river meets the sea. The cages of roots make a place for many animals, fish and birds to live, including endangered species. They also protect the shore from being washed away by the waves and help to stop flooding, so altogether they are really good for nature.

manglarespicschool-3

school-2We have a picture of a mangrove on our school logo and school uniform. It reminds me a bit of the Colby logo with a tree.

First I will write about the differences between our new school, Colegio los Manglares, and Colby. The first different thing I’m going to write about is the schedule. In Colby’s assembly before I left, I said that school started at seven and finished at twelve but my mum got the time wrong. The actual timetable is from seven until three (which isn’t as long as Felix has to do but it is still pretty long)! When Brae and I first heard our school day was going to be eight hours long we thought it would be ages and ages and ages but it just feels like a normal day!

school-12

We will be going to school here for 2 months altogether, because we had 2 weeks holiday before classes started and we will have 2 weeks holiday at the end before we fly back to England. Because we have longer days but also longer holidays, I have tried to work out if Brae and I will have more or less time at school than our friends in Colby over the whole of the spring term. To do this, I need to take into account the days we went to Colby at the beginning of January, the extra holidays we have in Colombia and the days we finish at one thirty here (every Friday). Drumroll please…here is the result of who is going to do more hours at school this term: Us – 302 hours and Colby – 318 hours! So Colby children are doing sixteen hours more than us, BUT we are spending many, many hours writing our blog and we have homework too so I think it’s probably about the same.

The next thing that is different is that here we have different teachertimetable Orens and classrooms for all the different subjects, like in high school. Some of the subjects, like maths, are quite easy but ‘lenguaje’ (literacy) is really hard because we have to write all our work in Spanish! We also have some subjects that we don’t usually have at Colby. For example, we study cultures of the world on Monday and we do democracy and globalisation class on Tuesdays. We have a double lesson on Wednesday called ‘cineforo’ where we watch a film and discuss it afterwards. On Thursdays, we have climbing and we also learn about the territories of the tribes near here. Lastly, we have a special environmental class on Fridays. At our school we like to help the environment, and protect animals. My class’s topic this term is to help all the stray cats and dogs in Rodadero where we live. There are hundreds of stray cats and dogs everywhere here which was a bit of a shock when we arrived. We are making snacks and I am going to help sell them and make them! Then we will use the money to buy food for the stray dogs and cats and maybe get them injections.

One very unusual thing is the size of the classes. They are super tiny, like in my class there are only six people! At first I was in Brae’s class but in my second week they put me in a higher group with children in year 6.
Also the space we get to play in is school-4pretty tiny compared to our playing space at Colby but we are still allowed to play football. And we have an hour for morning break!

The school also makes its own school dinners, which are really delicious. Anita is our chef and she cooks traditional Colombian food from scratch in the school kitchen. She’s really nice and smiley and she sometimes gives me an extra chocolate brownie!

Similarities: Also there are a few similarities between our schools. school-10The obvious one is that Colby is really welcoming and we found out that Colegio los Manglares is too. Our headteacher is called Chili and she is a bit like Mrs Mead as she is really kind and friendly and always has a smile on her face. Here is a picture of me and her during the school carnival.
The children are friendly too. When we arrived a boy immediately welcomed us. His name was Luis and he turned out to be our best friend in Colombia! He is coming over tomorrow to play. We have also made lots of other really nice friends.

school-13

Brae’s school post can be found here

School

By Brae:

When you look at all the adventures we have written about on our blog you might think that we are just on holiday but we are also going to school here.

Our school is very environmental. Every day everyone has school dinners because no one is allowed packed lunches. This is because it creates lots of litter (imagine how many packet of crisps, juice cartons, tin foil from your sandwiches and other things that get thrown in the bin after a whole school of children have packed lunch). We think about the effect that litter has on all the animals, especially sea animals like turtles. Also, all our science lessons are about animals and nature and we have science twice a day.

Every day, right in the morning, schoolwe have yoga class for a nice relaxing start for the day and I really like it. Every week we also have a climbing wall lesson, on the school’s own climbing wall, and we have nothing to hold us on apart from our hands and feet (no harness)! Our school bus driver teaches us climbing wall class because he is an expert climber.

We also have dance class every week. There are many Colombian dances. We have been learning salsa and cumbia. We even had our own mini carnival at school and we walked around the streets near the school playing instruments and dancing.

school-5school-9

school-7

Once a week we have French so in my head I have to go from French to Spanish to English and from English to Spanish to French. So as well as learning Spanish on this trip we are also learning French. The classes are much smaller and I only have boys in my class because there are no girls my age in the school. When we work all the desks are around the edge of the classroom instead of in the middle.

school-14

Every Wednesday, the whole school goes to the beach. It’s just down the road so we can walk there. We do long jump and playing in the waves. This week we swam out really far without being able to kick as we had bottles between our legs. Some of the children collected rubbish so that it doesn’t harm the animals, like turtles.

Before we did our first day I was really nervous as I didn’t know if I would make any friends or if I could speak enough Spanish, but now I know that I can speak enough Spanish and I have plenty of friends so I’m not worried any more.

school

I think I’ve improved in my Spanish in only two weeks of school. In the first week I didn’t speak loads and loads of Spanish, only short answers and short questions. But in my second week I’ve been speaking longer sentences and longer answers. I feel quite proud of myself because I’m speaking so much Spanish and I’ve improved so much.

Carnival!!!

By Brae:

Last weekend we went to Barranquilla, the fourth biggest city in Colom…OK, enough of that, let’s get to the important part: carnival!!!!

carnival-14

Every year Barranquilla has a completely mental party that goes on for 4 days and nights. Nearly 2 million people go to the ‘Carnavales de Barranquilla’ so it’s pretty big. The second biggest carnival in the world after Rio in fact.

We had tickets for seats in a stand which meant we were high up and had a really good view. There are thousands of people performing in the parades with lots of dancing, people pretending to be zombies, cannibals, animals and other stuff and the most incredible costumes ever. carnival-2carnival-35

The parades went on for at least 4 hours every day but we never got bored for one second because of the interesting things that they were doing and the party music and atmosphere.

thumb_IMG_7696_1024One of the things that made it so much fun was that you were given little boxes of flour
and you could throw it at each other or squirt people with foam. Everyone was wearing weird carnival clothes and funny hats and acting completely crazy! Here is a picture of some kids that threw flour at us, but then they gave us some of their flour so we could throw some at them and at our parents!

 

carnivalthumb_IMG_7682_1024
thumb_IMG_7714_1024thumb_IMG_7716_1024

I hope that the photos and videos we took help you imagine what it was like to be there.

carnival-33

carnival-3

Did you notice the ladies balancing bottle on their heads? These are full of aguardiente which is like whisky. People drink it a lot.

Wedding

By Oren:  

One of the main reasons we came to Colombia was to see our good friend Diana, who looked after me and Brae when I first started school in London. She lives in Bogotá now, the capital of Colombia, but she was living in London then. She looked after us for two years and while she was in London we met her brother Luis Fernando and her cousin Angelica. Also, when my mum went to Colombia with work, Diana’s family looked after her really well and made her feel at home. So you can see why Diana became like family to us. This is why we were so excited about being invited to her wedding to Ernesto. 

wedding wedding-4

The wedding was in a church by the sea and it was really beautiful. All the men had to wear special shirts called guayaberas which were white and they had a pattern on the side. These are traditional so we all had one. My dad and I bought one to keep and Brae rented one from a special wedding shop. It was so nice to meet some more of Diana’s family while we waited for the ceremony to begin. When we saw Diana arrive everyone started taking photos because she looked so pretty in her wedding dress.

wedding-12The party was at a beautiful house with a swimming pool and garden on the shore. We had delicious food and drinks, but the best bit was the disco. They played Colombian music and in Colombia everyone knows how to dance and they do it really well. As well as the disco they had Colombian musicians playing music to dance to. Brae and I got taken up to the dance floor by Diana and her cousin and also wedding-6my dad got taken up to dance in a circle with a crowd of ladies! We tried to copy people’s dance moves to try and dance like a Colombian doing ‘salsa’. Throughout the night I danced with a lot of people. 

wedding-16 wedding-10 wedding-9

At midnight, when I was first starting to get a bit tired, everyone went absolutely crazy! Angelica said it was called ‘la hora loca’ (the crazy hour) 

 wedding-13 wedding-17

and everyone dressed up and the band put some crazy music on and everybody danced until I thumb_IMG_7625_1024was really tired (it was later than one o’clock in the morning!). Brae and I fell asleep
in the taxi on the way home. Over all, the wedding was a huge success and very different to an English wedding. 

 

Another tropical fruit update

By Oren:

You can buy fruit in the IMG_7781supermarket here but we have discovered that lots of people people sell fruit at the side of the road on little wheelbarrows or stalls made out of wooden boxes. Sometimes people only have one kind of fruit (which makes me think that maybe they only have one fruit tree in their garden and that’s the only fruit they can sell), but sometimes they have a whole variety. In these photos the man is selling avocados and he was carrying them on his head.

IMG_7780IMG_7779

Sometimes from our balcony we hear the sellers shouting through a loud speaker: ‘AGUACATE, AGUACATE, AGUACATE, PAPAYA, PAPAYA, PAPAYA’ (‘Avocado…papaya…’) to get people to come out of their apartments and buy them.

We have started to buy lots of fruit from stalls and sometimes we buy fresh fruit juices too. Recently, IMG_7778we have discovered that mango cut up with salt, pepper and lime is super delicious (it sounds weird but it’s yummy). Our favourite juice is a local speciality on the coast of Colombia. It is called ‘limonada de coco’ and it’s fresh coconut and lime with ice. It is exquisite. In my last fruit post I talked about ‘piña dorada’ but I didn’t have a photo because I ate it before we could
take a picture. We have eaten LOTS more golden pineapple since the first one so here is a photo of one we had last week.

IMG_7580pineapple

 

The previous post can be found here

Colombian birds

By Brae:

When we went to Minca we saw lots of birds, as we mentioned in our last post. But we didn’t explain it very well so I am going to explain it to you now. Minca is famous for its amazing birds of all different kinds. Even though Minca is only a very small town, you can see 162 different species of bird just in this small place! And when you explore the mountains around Minca, you can find 320 species of bird! Altogether, there are almost 2000 species of birds in Colombia – more than any other country in the world. So now you know what I mean when I say we saw lots of birds in Minca!

minca birds-15

To see toucans and parrots and other fascinating birds, you need to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning or even earlier. We got up early to go bird watching two mornings in a row. The toucan is a bird that everyone minca birds-6wants to see and we were lucky enough to see one, but if a toucan hears or sees you they fly away so that’s why we couldn’t take a picture of one in the real wild.

I did get some good photos (on my own camera) of some other of my favorites, like wonderful macaws, hummingbirds which flap their wings at an unbelievable speed, and an amazing black and yellow bird called a crested oropendola that makes a nest in the shape of a bag hanging from a tree.minca birds-2
minca birds

minca birds-4

The blue headed parrot is a incredible bird of all different colors. But it is given its name by its amazing blue head. The males don’t even have blue heads. The reason it is given its name is because of the females amazing blue stipe down the center of its head. We also saw woodpeckers and parakeets and lots of other birds that you won’t have heard of.

minca birds-20minca birds-19minca and transport-23

minca birds-7

 

Colombian animals update

By Oren:

My favourite group of animals is primates but my second is definitely reptiles, and in Minca I saw the most amazing reptile I have ever seen! It was a three-foot long green iguana (that is its species’ name but they have different colors as well) climbing slowly up the tree outside our window in Minca. When I spotted it I thought it was a dream at first but then I got back to my senses and called my family. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

minca and transport-3

minca and transport-4

I have one other small animal update (in both senses of the word). When we were doing one of Niall’s tours we saw some amazing luminous colored bugs, one on our bag and one crawling on the path we were walking along. Here are some pictures:

bugs-3 bugs

The first Colombian animals post can be found here

Transport update

By Brae:

minca and transport-14The other day we went up the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This is world’s highest coastal mountain range and we went there to see the sunrise and the rare mountain birds. We had to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning! The mountains are so high and steep the only way to get to the top quickly is in a jeep. I got travel sick. So on the way down the mountain Oren and I went on the roof of the jeep! We enjoyed it more than when we were inside because we didn’t get travel sick. minca and transport-19It was scary at first because the road was super steep and full of great big holes, minca and transport-12
but after a while
we got used to it and we started to concentrate on what was around us. There were loads and loads of coffee trees planted in between the tropical fruit trees and jungle plants. We were surrounded by them. Everywhere we looked there were coffee trees.

We didn’t only go on a roof of a jeep but we also went on a motorbike taxi. They took us to a waterfall in the mountains. Each bike had a driver withminca and transport-25 me and Mum on one bike and Oren and Dad on the other. It was a bit squished but we got through. The ride was very bumpy but fun at the same time. It was amazing watching all the birds. There were all sorts of different kinds. We saw bright yellow fly catchers and scarlet tanagers.
minca and transport-11minca and transport-23

At home, I have to be in a booster seat with a seat belt so I can’t believe what we are doing in Colombia. Perhaps my mum and dad have gone a bit mad. But they say that we are on the adventure of a lifetime so the rules are very, very different. I think that this is the kind of school trip that Mr Brown would like to take Emerald class on!

The first transport post can be found here

Minca

On Monday I went to a mountain town called Minca, where we stayed in a very nice house called Emerald Green. We had a cozy room with a big double bed and bunk beds. We also had a balcony, which had a lovely view of the river and an enormous, ancient tree. The host of our guesthouse was a man called Niall who was the best! He was Irish and he was very kind and fun and made us do things during our four days in Minca that seemed scary but they turned out to be really thrilling and we didn’t want to stop. Niall has been living in Minca for six and a half years because he went travelling there and didn’t want to leave (don’t worry, I do like it here but I will come back!). When we arrived we dropped off all our possessions in our room and found out he had a dog and two cats who were all adorable and mostly really friendly (but one of the cats was a bit scratchy!).

After a while my family and I went on one of Niall’s tours to the lost waterfall, which he and his friend had discovered, with his dog Ishka running ahead. When we had been walking for a while Niall spotted a kind of palm tree that had very vicious looking spikes all over its trunk, which Niall said were poisonous and we definitely should never touch one.minca and transport-7minca and transport-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we hiked uminca and transport-8p the mountain through the jungle for a little bit more and we came to what looked like the most ginormous clump of grass you’ve ever seen. It was more than ten meters high and Niall said it was bamboo and it was a grass (so I wasn’t wrong thinking it looked like grass).
minca and transport-8-2

 

 

This kind of bamboo is a very useful material for constructing houses and scaffolds in Colombia, and also when they plant it by the side of the road on a steep bit of mountain, the roots act as an anchor preventing land slides and erosion of the road or path so it doesn’t get destroyed. It was fascinating to minca and transport-30discover that houses, which were made out of bamboo, have been known to survive earthquakes when brick and concrete houses have been falling down. We also discovered that the only time you can harvest it is after a full moon at four o’clock in the morning because it makes all the water go to the bottom of the plant, and when it gets cut it can re-grow itself! It is against the law to cut it down at any other time.
minca and transport-29

We continued to trudge up the mountain path, higher and higher, feeling sweltering hot and sweating all over. Finally we emerged through the jungle and saw an incredible waterfall. We slipped into the freezing water. It was like swimming in a bowl of ice! Niall said we’d get used to it though. We also leaped off a huge rock into the pool.

minca and transport-3-2

Then it was time to follow the river back down the mountain so off we went. When I say we went, I don’t mean we walked. I mean we were swept down the river for a long distance, down waterfalls and mini waterslides with Niall. We climbed over rocks and my mum and dad had to get washed down a really powerful waterfall and Brae and I went down a smaller one. That’s when Niall gave us the nickname chickens because Brae did the funky chicken when we were supposed to be tucking our elbows in while we were going down a waterfall! Then Niall told us to clamber across some rocks and we stood under an amazingly strong waterfall and it was so strong that my trunks almost came down! ☹ When we finally reached the house we were soaked! After that we had a very laid back afternoon because we were exhausted.

minca and transport-5-2minca and transport-4-2