Tuesday 18 September 2012

Ethiopia Part 3 - Preparations & Panic!

Not long to go now, 18 more sleeps to be precise and yes I am really, really looking forward to it. The last week or so feels like it has just been one small panic moment after another to be honest.  Most are completely unfounded and not at all important but you know, I'm human so these silly things pop in my head and thankfully my logical side (that side in tune with God) clicks in and then I'm fine.

Each time I tell anyone about my trip or I meet with other bloggers I get asked 'how can you take this trip?' and often they follow up with 'I don't think I would cope'. To be honest I do not see anything special about myself taking this trip. When the ONE Campaign asked me to join them my instant reaction was that I would love to, it will be a real privilege. I might be being naive and completely unprepared, some may suggest I am wearing rose-tinted glasses but actually I just know that God has placed me in this situation and that gives me confidence and conviction. Travelling with ONE to Ethiopia is the right thing to do. I'm going to meet some awesome people, I just know it.

Elderly woman near Debre Birhan, Ethiopia. Photo credit: Laura Cook. Do follow the
link and look at her awesome photogaphy.
When I started this journey online a few weeks back I asked you to join me and take this journey too, so here is an update from the last week or so and you can feel as if you are journeying right next to me. I'll start off with a piece of wonderful news.  I have my passport back in my hand and it has an Ethiopian visa in it.  Praise the Lord.  For a short time I did have a gut-wrenching moment when I thought 'will I be able to go?'.  You might have seen me letting off steam on twitter or facebook saying that my passport had been lost. It turns out the courier company delivering my passport had messed up somewhere along the lines and for near a week my passport was 'missing'.  My poor old hubby was having heart-attacks about identity fraud and I  found out that if you want a passport quickly when it has been lost, you have to be willing to travel a long way to get one  Newport to be precise!

Thankfully for me I did not need to take that journey as my passport turned up and I want to sincerely thank the staff at the ONE office in London for their care and concern in sorting this situation out. So passport in hand the next job is to find some time this week to get travel insurance, this is not something I have done for 10 years now so I am wondering if there is anything I particularly need to know.  Any recommendations or tips would be appreciated, do leave me a comment please. I want to make sure I have adequate cover and with a reputable company.

Shall I share with you some of my silly panics?  Well maybe panic is not the right word to be honest, more fears or concerns I suppose. Often what I find is when I vocalise my fears/ concerns/ panics they lose their power and have no weight anymore, so here I am doing just that -

Fear number 1 -
I am really rubbish with other languages.  I just do not have any skill in this area and I fear I may offend people by not being able to use some common phrases.

Fear number 2 -
The airline I am travelling with have a weight limit of 22kg on my main case.  Will this be enough?  I really do not want to take any more than one case but obviously I want to be able to take everything I need and as that includes towels they impact the weight.  I think what I need to do is have a trial run and pack my case - maybe this weekend. I expect it might panic my kids that I am going sooner than they thought!

Fear number 3 -
I am still having fears about my size and worrying that I will offend people by being so overweight. I know it all sounds very self-indulgent but this is such a difficult one for me, I have not substantially lost any weight recently and I really wish I could get to grips with my eating but for now it is in Gods hands.

Fear number 4 -
On the flip side I am worrying that because food does have such an important place in my life that I will find my week in Ethiopia hard because the foods I am presented with will be unfamiliar and perhaps not to my taste (yes I can be a bit fussy).  Of course this might turn out to be a blessing and my stomach will shrink ready for my return and a more sensible approach to food.

Fear number 5 -
I have even been worrying about how often I might need to go to the loo when I am out there and there might not be facilities available or the time to stop if we are on a long journey. I assume I'll need to drink a fair amount of water due to the heat and my bladder is not that great, so I need to spend the next two weeks drinking a lot to make sure my body is more used to drinking and demands me to pee less!  (I bet you are so glad I shared that).

Fear number 6 -
Then lastly I have been worrying that I will be able to do justice to my reporting of all the wonderful people I meet.  I really want to be able to show the real people I meet and what Ethiopia is like and to add to the Living Proof campaign to demonstrate that international aid works. But in my own right I feel unequipped to do that but again I need to know that God placed me here for a reason and I have a job to do, so I need to get on and do it. 

I can be terrible for comparing myself to others and when you are travelling with a dynamic group of women, like this lot is is easy to feel like the poor relation but as someone said to me the other day I have to remember that I am a remarkable woman, mother and friend in the community who is a wonderful storyteller with a passionate and compassionate voice.  Wow, that pretty much blows me away, bet you wish you could receive an email like that every once in a while? lol


If you think others will enjoy taking this journey with me, then please share this and my other ONE Ethiopia posts and don't forget to sign up to ONE and offer your voice. I am taking this journey with Jennifer Howze of BritMums, so do follow her journey too and follow #ONEMoms on Twitter.

From 6th October I'll be travelling with a group of 11 other inspirational Mums and Moms to Ethiopia as part of an expense paid trip courtesy of the ONE Campaign. Our trip is about success – Living Proof -- of what is working and why it is important that we continue to support projects that are making a huge, measurable difference for less than one percent of the entire US budget. It is about letting more people know what a tremendous difference the US and UK are making in the lives of millions around the world.  And it is about adding thousands more voices to those already letting their elected officials know they support these life-saving programs.
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