Monday, 20 December 2010

Helmets and other things

What a carry on - or not a carry on depending on which airline you speak to!!! lol Most of the group who are going to Rwanda in January have to take a new motorbike helmet, but arrangements for the carriage of 10 helmets on board is extremely complicated. Fortunately Stephen is acting on behalf of us all and he has spent many hours trying to get a clear and accurate response. It is not necessarily the fault of the airline because they are subject to security regulations. Our helmets could be used as protection against an attack and therefore should be carried in the hold. However, even 'fragile' baggage is thrown around which would invalidate the effectiveness of said helmet in the event of a motorbike crash. So, at the moment messages are flying around right left and centre - which is more than can be said for the aeroplanes!

Sorry! That isn't funny especially if you are trying to get home for Christmas. It's not only the planes but also train travel and motorway travel is hazardous at the moment. Sadly Ken's train was cancelled and so we had to abandon our arrangements to meet up in Manchester today. Ken has been doing the job that I will be doing in Rwanda and has sent me lots of information useful to the work with schools. I was looking forward to talking with him face to face and still hope to do so before January 15th. Ken has been fantastically helpful and supportive and is not used to this cold weather!

As far as motorway travel is concerned, two very dear friends set off on Saturday morning to visit their daughter, who had just gone into labour, and got stuck on the M40 for approximately 10hours. They arrived safely at 3am to see mother, father and baby doing very well - but that grandchild will hear the story of 'The Struggle through the Snow' on every birthday for the next thirty years!!! xxx to Jessica, Duncan and Benjamin.

As for me I have a had a super Christmas weekend with my pals - concert of Christmas music on Saturday night, followed by visit to Real Ale pub. Sunday morning - the 'Pals Christmas Day' we opened our pressies and then had fun preparing our Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. In the evening, down to the 'Hollins and the Ivy' event at the Hollins in Macclesfield and a first sighting of new baby Darcey. Aaahhhh x 

Today? Back home to the nitty gritty organisations still going on for my departure in January. 

Travel safely everyone and remember 'Don't make unneccesary journeys' But my journey to spend Christmas with my lovely family is definitely necessary. xx

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Oh! Panic! Panic!

 I have several lists going and I'm feeling really pleased cos I've just ticked off 12 out of 20 tasks on 'Supplementary Page 1'of the spreadsheet that my brilliantly organised daughter, Naomi has set up for me!However, I have 4 other pages to go and I haven't looked at them yet - they include things like transferring the van insurance into my son John's name (done),booking and organising storage of my effects, getting a gas safety certificate , writing a will etc, etc. Add to this the 'do' on January 8th, (organised by my other brilliant daughter, Sara) and ... Christmas is coming!!

This weekend though,saw the last of my shifts on the market in Rochdale. I am a founder member of a group called 'Fair For All' and every Saturday for four years we have staffed a stall in the centre of a very cold and draughty 
outdoor market.I have moaned a lot over the years but I will miss the comaraderie and friendliness of the market traders and the interesting people that pass by. Sometimes, they even stop to buy things!!I notice that the latest rota does not say that yesterday was my last shift on the market but instead it stated 'Tricia will not be available to do the market for two years' Oh Monica, Jan, Jenny and Diane you are all wonderful!!!!Happy Days :)

Monday, 6 December 2010

New skills and new friends

I have just returned from the last weekend of training before I go off to Rwanda. When I arrived back home last night I had to dig the snow and ice away from my front door before I could get in - I don't think I will be having that particular problem in a few weeks time!

The first part of the course was about health and security issues, so people of a queasy disposition got their chance to ask about creepy crawlies and naughty worms. The key learning points seem to be:

  • have all your vaccinations and keep them up to date
  • keep taking the anti- malarials
  • only drink clean boiled water
  • don't eat food from street sellers
  • sleep under a mosquito net
  • don't swim in the lakes
There is a small group of seven going to Rwanda in January and it was great to meet some of them this weekend. It's amazing to find out about the variety of placements available. People go out for 3months, 6 months, 12 months or two years, depending on the type of work that needs doing. My job involves long term change of attitudes and skill development, whereas another volunteer is going out to help some craft workers set up a small business and it needs to be time limited.

It was a busy but fun weekend and strangely enough we were sharing the conference centre with a large group of women and children from all over Africa - it was great to join in their very noisy celebrations and gave us a taste of what is to come.It was weird to think that we were going out to their countries just as they had arrived in ours!! Fantastic