About Palms: Blog

Palms Australia’s blog is a place for ideas around volunteering, development and crossing cultures to be explored.  It includes posts from volunteers, Palms’ staff and occasional guest authors.

Any opinions here belong to the author. We welcome all feedback as an opportunity to refine the ideas we might share. Please comment on individual posts if you have any particular thoughts, suggestions or questions. Please keep comments constructive and polite. We will moderate them for spam and inappropriate content, so they may take some time before appearing on the site.

More Growth in Bedois

By Margaret and Peter Cassidy on May 15, 2017

After their positive experience hosting Palms volunteer teachers Guida and Sam in 2014-15, The Bedois community in Timor Leste keenly looked again to Palms when planning expansion of their Primary School programme and establishing a new Preschool. Old Palms stalwarts, the Cassidys, were just as keen to take up the invitation- Bedois Parish, Dili, Timor […]

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Going Local

By John Dorton on May 1, 2017

John Dorton has been in placement at Kiunga, Western Province PNG, for four months now. Yes, it does seem longer, as he’s becoming very much a local. Still no photos (understandable given the technical hitches) but John paints a vivid picture all the same- Kiunga is a sort of false urban setting. It hasn’t existed […]

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Trust and Development

By Veronica Chong on April 24, 2017

by Veronica Chong Now nine months in Atabae, Timor-Leste, where Veronica Chong is volunteer Community Development Officer, she sees the relationships formed as crucial to meaningful development in both communities and individuals, not least herself- It is the sense of social justice that motivates me in this journey. I am currently volunteering in Atabae in […]

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Growing Confidence in Balibo

By Michele Rankin on March 8, 2017

by Michele Rankin. Just in time for International Womens’ Day, Michele Rankin writes of busy Balibo where even traumatic memories inspire hope and positive action. And yes: Women are a driving force- My first year in Balibo has been full of adventure and happenings. Balibo is situated along the western border of Timor-Leste and although […]

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Changing Expectations

By John Dorton on January 30, 2017

John Dorton, a Melbournian originally from the US, arrives in Kiunga, PNG, where he is mentoring staff of the Diocese. In a new placement one must be adaptable to changing roles, and it seems John has already come to expect the unexpected-  Not surprisingly, what was originally envisaged as my job has morphed. Not a […]

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Four Months In

By Clare Lourey on October 24, 2016

by Clare Lourey, volunteer in Ofcolaco, South Africa- My name is Clare (or Khensani as the local staff and children now call me), I’m a primary school teacher from Sydney, Australia. Through Palms I am volunteering at Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa for twelve months. I’m currently four months into my placement and I […]

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First Impressions Mukuru

By Bev Watkinson on October 24, 2016

by Bev Watkinson Bev, a ‘retiree’ from Brisbane, has already volunteered in China, Timor Leste and on the streets of New York; Now fulfilling a lifelong dream, she is volunteering at the Ruben Centre in Nairobi- It all started with an incredible yearning to live in Kenya….who knows maybe it was a childhood dream to […]

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A Magical Time

By Helena Charlesworth on October 24, 2016

by Helena Charlesworth Long-term volunteer at Sacred Heart High School in Tarawa, Kiribati, Helena tells of the moment her students discover new worlds -perhaps rediscovering a certain magic herself- The secondary college where I work has run a reading programme – Drop Everything And Read or DEAR – for some years now. I was given charge of […]

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Hugs and Handshakes

By Les Hartwig on September 19, 2016

Volunteers generally come to Palms with wide and diverse experience, before being immersed in entirely new cultures, where pre-conceptions quickly unravel. The exception to prove the rule though is Les Hartwig, who with his wife Norelle, has spent most of his life and career in Papua New Guinea. Now volunteering in Mt Hagen, he is […]

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The Driving Force

By Heather Henderson on June 29, 2016

by Heather Henderson Just over a year into her second Palms placement, Heather Henderson describes the things which drive and inspire her work: A very personal statement but one all volunteers can relate to- Throughout my life I always had a desire to travel the world and work in areas of need.  I have always […]

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Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural.
It is man made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. - Nelson Mandela