When Jonnie went off to Kenya for a month with the school a couple of years ago I was very envious. Not the climbing Mt Kenya bit. Nor the sleeping in tents bit. Or in fact the eating fish casserole bit. Especially not the “no phones, no internet” for a month bit. The bit that really made me envious was going off with friends to see where money was being spent by the charity they were going with, Gap Africa. Money they had worked hard to help raise. They were going to witness first hand the difference donations from the UK were making to the lives of people half a world a way. They were also going to be helping out too, re-roofing a hut and building desks in a school. They crammed various tools and bits of kit in amongst their medical supplies and thermal underwear.
I also shoved a load of reminders in his rucksack to make him know I was thinking about him as he did this trip of a lifetime, something I talked about here: When are our children no longer our babies
Not only was I nervous for him, I was envious that he was doing it at all. My heart skipped a beat when I got this message telling me he was on top of the world:
My head screamed “IT’S SITTING NOT SAT” but my heart sang. My gorgeous boy was going without all the things he loved for a month to do some good for those less fortunate. I couldn’t be more proud.
Which is why when Comic Relief asked if Annie, Penny and I would like to join them in Kenya this year we enthusiastically said “yes please”. Because seeing where money raised by Red Nose Day goes, the lives it is changing, is a vital part of what Comic Relief does, alongside the fundraising. And being a part of that is what spurs us on to do all the organising of Team Honk that takes over our lives from January. Seeing where the money is being spent is inspiring, its life changing.
We are off on Friday night, and land back in the UK on Tuesday morning and will spend the weekend recording as much as we can with video, photos, blog posts, tweets to share with you from there, and when we get back.
The schedule for our trip is brutal. But then that’s to be expected, it’s not a holiday. Three days, two overnight flights, four hour stop overs, four project visits, 6.30am starts and 6pm ends to the day on the road and evenings spent blogging and sharing all we have seen, is full on. And that’s just the physical, the emotional side of the trip is going to tough too. But at the same time a whole new level of awesome.
Seeing women running their own businesses in the slums of Ghana and Tanzania is one of THE most inspiring things I have ever witnessed. Talking to young men chatting enthusiastically about their computer businesses whilst wearing Manchester United football shirts are conversations I will never forget.
As for Kenya, I can’t tell you about the projects until we have been to them but they are all making huge changes to the lives of the people they support. That you support. That your donations are helping those projects achieve. And we can’t wait to get stuck in and share all of that with you.
If you would like to be involved in sharing a “social postcard” we would love to have you on-board. You can sign up here for an email that will land in your inbox next Sunday night:
I want to be a social postcard supporter please
It will have info on sharing photos that we will have taken over the weekend and some information about the projects they were taken at. We would love it if you could then share those in anyway you like on Monday. Maybe a tweet with the pic; an instagram post; a share on Facebook; a blog post, or even an email to all your friends. Any sharing would be fantastic. There will be # too so you can then see all the other posts made by people doing the same thing.
We would love you to join us in the fund raising too if you haven’t already. You can come to Wembley on one of the Team Honk places even if you aren’t a blogger. If you are friend of Team Honk then we would love to have you on board. All the information you need is in this post:
How to join the #RNDdanceathon
but if you can’t get to Wembley maybe you could organise a shimmy on your sofa event at home and fund raise without the travel. You can still join Team Honk with a giving page to keep track of your fund raising (the pages go live later today and I will update this post when they are live).
I am hugely excited about going to Kenya, but also a little bit terrified! And I have lots of questions in my head to ask the people we will be meeting at the projects. But do you have any questions you would like us to ask? If there is something you would like to know then do let me know and I will do my best to ask the question for you and report back.
Annie, Penny and I will be over on the Britmums blog later and having a Google Hangout at 1pm chatting about the trip so do come and join us
This also all goes to explain why things have been somewhat awry on the blog recently. There has been much work and plotting behind the scenes. And vaccinations, which have made me sick. But then I remember how lucky I am to be able to get a prescription for anti malaria tablets and to be able to not blink when the pharmacist says “£35 please”. It is a stark reminder of many hundreds of thousands of families who can’t do that and who live with the tragedy of losing loved ones to malaria. And our determination that Team Honk can do their bit to save lives. That you can do your bit to save those lives.
Now, I must really go and pack! And whilst I do that you can have hop over to Annie and Penny’s posts today and see their thoughts on heading to Kenya
Reporting from Kenya this weekend by Annie
Kenya with Comic Relief by Penny
Photo of Kenyan school girls courtesy of Shutterstock