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Learn a new skill: cooking, upcycling and more

by Martha Hales

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Who needs yet another pretty trinket from their travels to clutter up the shelves? Far more exciting to come back from your adventures with a new skill, something to wow your friends and family with.

TravelLocal’s brilliant and knowledgeable local experts can fix up all kinds of hands on experiences for you as part of your trip, and these can be a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the place you visit. Meet local people, learn about their enterprise and how it fits into community life and ,most importantly, pick up new skills from the experts.

Read on for some examples of unique and memorable experiences you can take part in as part of a TravelLocal trip.

BeadsGhana: recycled glass beads

Glass beads play an important role in Krobo culture and are often worn for celebrations and ceremonies. Cedi Beads is a family enterprise founded by Mr Nomoda Ebenizer Djaba in Odumasi Krobo. Once the bead workshop was established, demand rose to the point where Mr Djaba now employs several family members. The century-old tradition of making glass beads has been passed down through the family, and today the workshop welcomes visitors keen to learn the process. The first part of upcycling involves crushing the glass, pouring this into moulds and firing them at very high temperatures. These are highly skilled tasks and you will be able to watch as the team carries them out. As a ‘student’ your role will be to decorate and apply patterns to the beads using a special glass paint. For a deeper insight into the importance of these beads in Krobo culture, visit the workshop during the Dipo celebrations in the month after Easter. You are likely to see the beads being worn as part of ceremonial dress, leading to a greater understanding of the cultural context behind Cedi Beads.

Ms ChaileeLaos: upcycled bags

Finding a new and stylish use for a byproduct of the construction industry has helped the Chailee family make ends meet. Following their success, Ms Chailee is teaching her sewing skills to visitors. With over ten years experience in needlework, she shows visitors how to create unique and customised bags from unwanted cement sacks. These kind of upcycled products are eco-friendly and have really helped the local families. Many sell the bags at night markets throughout Laos to gain an income. Instead of buying a generic bag you can create a unique example with your own fair hands and learn some new sewing skills in the process. Not many people can show off a holiday souvenir that they’ve made themselves!

Street foodIndia: Cuisine and Cookery

Our local experts in India have put together an itinerary showcasing the best of India's hugely complex and delicious culinary heritage (alongside some of the most exciting sights). Learn the difference between rich and hearty Punjabi cuisine, refined and traditional Awadhi style cookery, and how to spot the best street food. A highlight of this trip is the chance to spend time in a Rajasthani home in Jaipur, learning from your hosts some of the secrets of their well-balanced spicing and mouthwatering recipes. You can shop and cook alongside your teachers or just watch and learn from the experts - and then tuck in. When you return home you will be able to recreate these fantastic dishes!

Morocco: Argan oil

As you head from the desert terrain of Marrakech towards the coast at Essaouira, the land gets greener and you find yourself in a patchwork of fields and orchards of Argan trees. Our local experts have put together a trip which allows you to discover the secrets and benefits of Argan oil first hand. It’s also a chance to get involved in its production which is a real staple of the local economy. Begin by meeting some of the women who work for the cooperative, and assist them harvesting and processing the Argan nuts. You will find out from them how the oil is extracted and get the chance to sample various products. There is also a lesson on cooking with Argan oil, where you will discover how to make tagines and pastries in the true Moroccan tradition.

Make it happen

There’s a whole world of skills out there, so what are you waiting for? Why not bring home a new skill and a deeper cultural understanding from your next holiday?

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