Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Field Programs!

OMG!!!!                Field Programs!


After what seemed like an agonizing wait of postponements, the filed programs are finally up! I have to say that the extra time it took to put these together was well worth it. The options are better and cheaper than what I was expecting. I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but a lot of the things students expressed interest in on our facebook wall ended up being SAS field programs. The filed programs are basically the trips that SAS offers at each destination. Some are faculty led which we have to go on for our classes and some are led by local tour companies. We also have the option of booking our own tours or traveling independently, but I'm sticking to SAS tours for the most part.

One pro about sticking to the SAS tours is that they will do everything in their power to make them accessible. I know that pretty much all of the transportation is wheelchair accessible, even if SAS has to do some finagling to get busses with wheelchair lifts. Luckily, I can transfer so I won't be needing this, but it is nice to know. I plan on contacting the field program office this week to go over the trips I am interested in and to what extend they will be accessible. Also, most transportation and accommodation is air conditioned which will dramatically improve my endurance.

I am doing one trip in Africa that is not put on by SAS and I already see a potential problem. The trip is pretty awesome and will include touring a facility that raises cheetahs, tigers, and lions. Unfortunately the website states that people with disabilities are not welcome and if they find out you are disabled, they will keep your money and not let you participate. Supposedly it is for safety reasons, but placing a blanket ban on anyone with disabilities shows a huge lack of understanding. The moral part of me really wants to boycott the facility due to it's policy regarding people with disabilities, but the selfish part of me wants to go anyway. I have the luxury of having a mostly invisible disability so I could probably do this and no one would notice. Right now the plan is for me to participate and then talk to the manager of the facility afterwards about the unfair policy. I hope to show them that I successfully participated with a disability and in light of this perhaps they should change their policy.

FIGHT THE POWER!



There are so many exciting options offered by SAS and I would love to go into detail of exactly what I am going to sign up for, but that would result in a small novel of text and limit the surprise factor for later. :0) Here are some hi-light though:

A Safari near Kruger National Park! The tent style accommodation looks really fun and there is also lots to do in the area including visiting an endangered species rehabilitation center.



Many service visits working with local and international groups. The service visits include things like cooking meals for orphanages, volunteering for Operation Hunger, and providing activities for kids who are disabled.



A 6 day tour of TIBET!!!! and China. I have to admit I am worried about the altitude for some of the trip, but I won't know if I can do it until I try.




Lots of home-stays and village visits where local people will share culture, daily lives, and noms!



Coming back to the present (oh so difficult with sailing in the near future!), I am almost done with trip preparations. I went to get my vaccinations on Wednesday and ended up only needing typhoid, meningitis, and the flu shot. I still need to get my yellow fever shot, but that is posing a little bit of a problem. Since I have taken medicine in the past that would lower my immune system (and being sick in general tends to lower it) I try to avoid live virus vaccines. Unfortunately the yellow fever vaccine is only available as a live virus vaccine and I absolutely have to have it to get off of the boat in at least two of the countries. I did some research and decided to go ahead and get the vaccine (I don't appear to be at much more risk for side effect than anyone else). Since the travel clinic knows my medical history, I have to go to my internist and get a note from him that I can have the shot. It's quite a bit of hassle, but worth it to keep people safe. The travel clinic also gave me a huge list of potential hazards in every place I'm visiting. That combined with having taken a few infection diseases classes is enough to make even an easy going person a little paranoid. I will definitely be loading up on the bug spray with DEET, purchasing the insect repellant spray for clothing, and staying well away from wild animals. The last one will be difficult for me because I have a hard time resisting petting a friendly animal. (This may or may not be how I was bitten by a kangaroo...)


Danger? What danger?


I am still looking for gifts for my home-stay families, but I did order the popping thingies from the Oriental Trading Company which should arrive in a few days. I was also thinking of bringing pennies and nickels to hand out since it can be kind of cool to have currency from other countries.

Every day I just keep getting more and more excited!

0 comments:

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you!

Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Less than 60 Days to Go!!!!

Right now 60 days seems like an eternity, another lifetime away. I wish I could speed up time and be on that ship now!
Anyone got a Tardis they could spare? I'm trying to immerse myself in getting ready and enjoying the holidays as a distraction and I would say it is working marginally well. The getting ready part is quite a job actually. Since my parents had handled everything when we traveled in the past, all of the visas, vaccinations, reservation making, etc. is a huge wake up call for me. To make sure I stay organized I have a SAS to do list. Luckily, I am making some good progress. Here is what the list looks like:



I also check the SAS facebook group every day to stay caught up on news and "meet" people before we actually get to the ship. So far everyone seems really nice and excited for the trip. Someone even made a website for us that organizes our discussions and has lots of links to great resources.

Because I have an inborn tendency to create projects for myself, I guess it isn't surprising that several projects have sprung up around my trip. As I mentioned before, I'm making a picture book to help with communication. Here's a page from it:



I'll laminate the pages and then put them all on a flash card ring so they are durable and easily accessible. I don't plan on using it much but it would be nice to have in a pinch. (As I learned when my family's car broke down in rural France. Imagine trying to say you accidentally put diesel in a non diesel engine by hand gestures...)

I'm also working on hand-binding a leather journal that was going along well until I got my right arm casted (due to a wrist dislocation). Now it's sitting on my desk and patiently waiting until I can finish it. I'm modeling it after River Song's diary from Doctor Who and so far it looks pretty good.

I always like to bring little trinkets to give to people when I travel and am in the process of finding things to bring. So far I have sparkly bracelets for girls, those things that you blow into and the curly part shoots out, and some sets of marbels. I am thinking of also getting a large pack of popping balls for giving out to large groups of kids. That just leaves some gifts for my homestay families and I'll be all set. I'm having trouble coming up with what to get, so if you have any ideas, please send me a message!
What I mean by popping balls and the blowy party favors (they are surprisingly difficult to describe despite the fact that we all know what they are):



I think that's about it for now. :0) Just more waiting and getting ready for me.

TTFN

0 comments:

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you!

Total Pageviews