Chernobyl – Day 2 (1)

This was a crazy good tour – we were hosted by Sergio who was serving in the Army Reserve at the time of the meltdown. 500 000 soldiers were brought into contain it – working pouring lead and cement into the reactor and mining underneath to install a cooling system. If the reactor hadn’t been brought under control the inevitable explosion and radiation fallout would have wiped out europe. A lot of these workers died from acute radiation poisoning although this not reflected in the official figures.

Visiting the abandoned town of Privit was mine blowing. People basically had to walk out of their homes with no notice. After 26 years the forest overgrown the whole place.

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Ukraine travel log: Day 1

Ok time to catch up my blog!

Day 1: Sightseeing in Kiev – included checking out some impressive old churches, purchasing some original soviet army stuff from the street markets (I got a fantastic watch- 1947) a river cruise and vodka shots with dinner!

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Ukraine!!

Ok so it has been 6 days since I arrived in the Ukraine – but I don’t have time to properly blog about the farming so I will just post these soviet era gems!!
Also me trying to look stoic like a true Ukrainian!

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Camel races are big in the desert – shame they got rained out (?)

So we were all really excited about going to the camel races – but it got rained out it. The last time it rained in Doha was 2 years previous. Unlucky but kinda funny!20120929-001119.jpg20120929-001320.jpg

I still got to ride a camel thanks to our awesome host from Mawashi livestock.
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Doing it in Doha!

I really like Doha! The heat hits you like a blast furnace when you step outside the airport – 45 degrees Celsius! even at 12 am at night it was still 35!

Our first day we met with a agricultural investment company Hassad set up by the Qatar government. It is only a three year old company that has aggressively bought up interests in Aussie sheep and beef. They also have farms in Sudan and Qatar and other projects including building a new port facility. They had a $1 billion seed fund. We talked to an Aussie, Andrew who oversees the investments and gave us a fairly detailed and matter-of-fact run down on the investments and challenges of taking on a lot of very large and big dollar projects ($100 million +) They look for rekiable proven businesses that have strong systems infrasturcture and management in stable countries (like Australia). We then toured a Hassad fodder farm on the outskirts of Doha. It was amazing to see hectares of green pivets in the middle of a burning hot desert.. but reasonably sustainable as they use recycled water from Doha and modern techniques.20120928-225547.jpg20120928-225658.jpg20120928-225604.jpg20120928-225622.jpg20120928-225723.jpg20120928-225745.jpg20120928-225633.jpg20120928-232948.jpg

Visit to the Delhi Slums

This was a pretty confronting experience. We were hosted by the Asha foundation. Asha trains groups of women to diagnose and treat minor ailments as well as practice and teach good sanitation. They also have english class for children and sponsor teenagers into university. The kids and people were lovely but once outside the Asha training centre conditions were horrendous. See the photos. Asha works in several slums in Delhi (about 400 000 people) this only a small promotion of the the people living in delhi slums.

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Couldn’t help but throw this one in ..

revenge is a rice dish best served cold!

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Land of the Retro Bike (2)

more gems from the land of the Tiger!

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Punjab University Farm Fair

‘We may not be able to create the garden of Eden but we can clear a few thorn bushes on the way’ from one our hosts when we visited the Punjab Agricultural University Farm Fair.

It was an impressive trade show with over 1 million farmers visiting over two days. Hosted by the University it showcased the latest farming techniques and equipment specifically aimed at farmers on small land holdings. The most exciting initiatice was the village agri-business projects training women work co-operatively to value-add and market there own produce. It seemed very successful, and is designed to return greater profits back to the farmers.20120923-230348.jpg20120923-230439.jpg20120923-230451.jpg20120923-230506.jpg20120923-230542.jpg

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Amritsar and the Golden Temple

Touch down in Amritsar! We were greeted by our hosts Mali and Raj.
Mali is an employee of Syngenta a Large pesticide company. Raj is an extremely innovative aquaculturalist
(fish and fresh water mussels)

They whisked us off to the Golden Temple – is was to say the least an amazing experience – with Mali and Raj as our guides and a bit of luck (there was a large transport strike meaning the temple was not super crowded) We take the 1km walk around the holy lake, dip our feet and face in the holy water and make an offering in the golden temple.

You could feel the spiritual pull of this place. The slow reflective walk and haunting prayer music echoing from the temple was calming. SIKH people do this daily. Whole families walk and around the lake, stop and dip themselves in the holy lake and made a offering at the temple.

The people were extremely friendly. It was one of the highlights so far. (and not farming related ha!)

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