A bit of a French ‘inside’ joke to start… Unfortunately, I am not sure how to translate this properly so I shall leave it there… I have been writing all my posts in English so it felt like it was time for a bit of French… 😉
Where have I been, you might have been asking yourself? Well, I have just got lost in the routine since I got back and also daydreaming about my next trip to South Africa, which is only 7 days away… Yay! I haven’t even started to think about packing and all the other things I need to do to be ready to go… Maybe I should start panicking now!!!! Or not… I’ll decide a bit later!
So here I am, thinking that I have somewhat let you down by not blogging for so long… I shall do my best to make it up to you 😉 by sharing some ‘short stories’ about what happened since I last blogged (can you say that? Word thinks you can… and that’s good enough for me!) So without further ado…..
I have been reunited with Enzo, my Specialized crosstrail sports disc hybrid bike [isn’t he good looking… 🙂 ], and we have been out on several occasions around the Hertfordshire countryside with ‘the girls’ (sorry for ‘the guys’ who occasionally join us…). I have to say that it’s great to be out and about, breathing some fresh air and getting shouted at by grumpy motorists on country lanes… We have managed to clock up some miles with rides ranging from 25 to 40+ miles at the weekends… Yay!
There was the event at the Reform club in London, on the 20th of September, celebrating the 20 years anniversary of Project HOPE UK. It was a lovely event, well organised, with the usual bubbles and canapés and, most importantly, attendance from prominent business people likely to support the Thoughtful Path project through [hopefully] generous donations. After a short introduction by Brad, the board’s chairman, Paul made a very inspiring speech and we listened to a recorded video message from the charity Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu [who couldn’t be with us on the day unfortunately]. There was also a performance by a South African all male choir, which was lovely! It was a very warm day and I had taken my LBD (Little Black Dress, just for those of you who are not familiar with this essential acronym!) and, it turns out, a very memorable pair of orange wedged heels… 🙂 out for the occasion! [I like an opportunity to dress up, and you don’t get that many these days! Well I don’t… do let me know if you do, always happy to tag along… 😉 ]
I really enjoyed the event and spent my time gate-crashing groups of people I didn’t know [yes…. I know some of you will be raising eyebrows and smiling at this comment… 🙂 ] and telling them all about my South Africa experience and how great the work that Project HOPE UK is doing out there really is… I got the opportunity of meeting influential people from various businesses, including GSK people I would have never met otherwise…, and it was great for networking :). It is worth remembering that the success of such an event is measured through the donations made to the charity… networking and inspiring speeches are great, but the harsh reality is that the charity needs funding to keep this program running!
I have also found myself helping out for volunteering week in Stockley Park. A range of events was organised to raise awareness of what volunteering opportunities are available, from Orange days all the way to Pulse assignments through panel discussions, lunchtime walks and other informal discussions. It was great to see the current volunteers sharing their enthusiasm for the various initiatives with other employees (chocolate bribes – I meant treats… – helping…). As a direct result, I have registered as a STEMNET ambassador [STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths] to ensure that I do keep up with volunteering in my local community on my return from Pulse! Children of Hertfordshire schools, beware!!!! I’m coming!!! 🙂 But more seriously, during our induction, which I chose to attend in the STEMNET ‘headquarters’ in London (rather than at one of the sessions organised on GSK site) for the sake of networking 😉 , they made us draw a picture of a ‘typical’ scientist… What did I draw? Well, I drew a man in a lab coat with lab specs and ‘mad’ hair… [Badly, my drawing skills are worst than a 2 year-old’s…] What a stereotype!!! I’m a scientist… and I’m not a man, and there’s more to science than a lab coat and lab specs…. and I definitely don’t have ‘mad’ hair!!! Hopefully our work as STEMNET ambassadors will help inspire young people to consider these very rewarding careers, and change this ‘mad scientist’ stereotype!!!
On the 30th of October, there was another event celebrating the 20th anniversary of Project HOPE UK at the Broad Gallery, near Angel in London. The Broad Gallery is a lovely, quite small gallery with some amazing artwork. A silent auction was organised to raise money in support of the charity: six artworks, with one of the artwork fully donated by the Gallery. A percentage of the sale of any other artwork that evening was also donated. Around 25 guests were present and, similarly to the Reform club [albeit on a much smaller scale…], enjoyed bubbles, canapés, speeches by Brad and Paul and the video message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. As far as I know, the evening was a success with most of the silent auction artwork sold and a few other paintings sold as well 🙂 Result!
You will be glad to know that I have made very good progress on developing the rest of the Young Entrepreneur Curriculum materials (just thought I’d mention it, in case you thought I was just having fun and not doing any work!) – I’m very nearly there in terms of Power Points [actual course modules] and Word documents [notes for the teacher]. I am looking forward to testing those materials on some [hopefully] willing volunteers in Munsieville when I get back there early November!!!
I thought I’d also share this ‘personal’ story with you lovely lot ;). I What’s App, a lot!, because it allows me to keep in touch with my family outside of the UK ‘on the cheap’… So the other day, I received a picture of a John Lewis bag – a friend who, ‘saw this thing’ and just had to buy it for me… It wasn’t my birthday [my birthday is in June in case you’re wondering… 😉 ] and it definitely wasn’t Christmas yet (although it is coming soon!!!) so I’m sure you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of opening this unexpected present!!! Anyway, I was told not to get too excited because it was nothing really… but I obviously took no notice of that! After what felt like ages [but was probably only 2 weeks…my patience is legendary…], I finally met up with my friend for dinner in London and opened my present… A colourful box with the word ‘YAY!’ on the lid… Yay! made him think of me… 🙂 [I do use it a lot…] Great present, one of the best I have received in a very long time… Because it really is the thought that counts!
[03 Nov 14] I just thought I’d finish by saying that I haven’t yet posted my blog post and I am already back in South Africa!!! I have landed in Jo’burg this morning and successfully went through passport control and the Ebola “fever cameras”, picked up my car at the airport and successfully drove myself all the way to Krugersdorp without any incidents! Yay!
The adventure [part II] begins!!!