Sunday, 24 June 2012

Africa and Asterixi

Is two and a half weeks before too early to start packing for a trip?

When I normally go away, it's a bit last minute and slightly chaotic. I have to get my mum and dad, boyfriend, friends and pretty much everyone in my life to run through the checklist. This is how the conversations normally go...

Me and Mum

'Have you got knickers?'
'Of course I've got knickers, mum.'
'Have you got socks?'
'Of course I've got socks.
'Have you got bras?'
'Of course I've got bras.'
'Have you got your toothbrush?
'Yes, of course'.
'Something to read on the plane?'

Me and Dad

'Have you got clothes?'
'Yes, Dad, of course I've got clothes.'
' can't think of anything else. Why don't you ask your mother?'

Me and Mike

'Just do a body scan. Have you got everything you need for your head? Have you got everything you need for you neck? Have you got everything you need for your shoulders..........' etc
'MIKE!! WHEN ARE YOU GONNA ASK ME ABOUT KNICKERS AND TICKETS??!! Everyone starts with knickers and tickets - what the f**k is wrong with you, (scream, huff, start sobbing) I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm just a little stressed right now....'

I suppose I get a little paranoid because when I went to Mongolia I was uber organised. I had my compass in case I got lost in the wilderness, and for the same purpose I had one of those foil blankets that help you when you get hypothermia, ('cos that happens in Mongolia, obvs). I had my medical kit, my washing line, guidebooks etc. Just not my tickets or my passport.

I travel a lot, which I love. I've been to quite a few places in Africa and I've lived there for a little bit. The SAFE Foundation support projects in a few African countries and I'm really lucky to get to be there relatively often. So why do I feel so scared about working in Zambia this time?

I think it's because I normally travel with one of the other charity directors when I go away. This trip, though is completely on my own, which I haven't done for over ten years. The last time I travelled on my own was the one time I got myself into trouble. I think I'll save the story for another post, but the point of this one is that I feel scared.

The other reason is because I really, really, really want to be good at the job and I'm not the most confident girl at times.

In training for this trip, the representatives at the training organisation, (Emerging World - who are amazing) told us that while we are away we are 'an ambassador for the Welsh Government'. This makes me feel really proud, but also incredibly nervous. And its also the reason I've been using asterix's in my swear words instead of typing them all.

What's the plural of asterix?

Anyway, the assignment fits in to the Welsh Government's 'Wales Africa Framwork'. So, basically is part of Wales's contribution to International Development in Sub Saharan Africa. Which must be important, because I've suddenly started using loads of capitals.
I was selected for the assignment based on my experience of being a Director of a charity and managing an NGO. Based on my last seven posts - who out there can fricking believe that I manage an NGO? No - nor me.

So my brief in Zambia is to redesign certain strategies that deal with rural women's land rights on behalf of an advocacy and lobbying alliance that are the go between between small communities and the Zambian authorities. I've been told by everyone involved that my brief will almost certainly change when I'm there, and so I shouldn't get too hooked on the idea of the job.


The assigment is not a long one. In total I'll be away for just under three months, but that's still time to spin out, f**k up and miss people.

You may have realised by now that I love people. That means that I miss them and even if it is only a matter of months, I still miss them. I'll miss Hannah more than I can say because she's the other half of me and ever since the egg split I can't really do without her for long periods of time.

I'll miss the rest of my family and my blokey, who I will worry about when I'm away.

I'll miss my cat

I'll even miss Jorben and Arthursrealm in my alliance chatroom on Kingdoms of Camelot, Battle for the North. I can hear Hannah laughing out loud at this last sentence, but I'm not ashamed of my love of that game. I think I'll save the justification for my playing for another post, but the point is that I can imagine myself feeling quite isolated at times.

I think over the next few posts, you might hear about my nerves a bit more. Feel free to comment and tell me I'm being stupid. In fact, I formally invite more comments while I'm away. I think it will make me feel more in touch with people.

Oh my God - look how long this post is! Can I stop now?

1 comment: