It seems like a long time since I submitted my application and received confirmation of my match with Amref Health Africa, Head Quarters, Nairobi at the end of March 2017. When I heard of my match (Data Quality Advisor) in Kenya, I was thrilled to bits as this is one of several countries on my ‘wish list’ to visit and now I’ll have the chance to live there – how exciting is that! Although I don’t know much about the assignment at this point, I’m going with an open-mind to learn about the job, the people, the culture and hopefully make a difference.
Many of my relatives and friends have lived in Kenya and whilst reminiscing of their ‘yester years’, they have been offering me advice, particularly on safety, trying to teach me basic Swahili, things to do, foods to try and places to visit. I’m sure all of this good advice will come in handy when I reach Kenya but for now, seems like too much information to take in.
Many of my fellow PULSE volunteers are nearly half-way through their assignments and I have been reading and learning from their experiences and now finally – I’m getting ready for a trip of a lifetime!! How do I feel? Well as you can imagine, mixture of emotions – anxious, excited and worried – all in about equal measure but I’m finding ‘mindful’ tips are coming in very handy to bring calmness.
You may well ask what made me want to do this at this particular time? The idea of doing something different and stretching/challenging myself had been brewing for some time. With children grown up, husband semi-retired and my project work coming to an end, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to do something different for myself outside of my ‘comfort zone’. A little voice inside kept telling me to go for it – almost daring me to do something different – I like a challenge now and again.
So, with support from my manager (Ken Clark) and my department, I decided to take the opportunity and ever since then, friends and colleagues have been brilliant in encouraging and boosting my confidence all along the way. Of course, my family who are little bit apprehensive about this ‘adventure’ are behind me 110% on this incredible journey and are cheering me along……
As the summer draws to a close, I’m working through several checklists in readiness to depart on 28 Sept – including a visit to the Amref offices in London last week where I was able to get some insight about how Amref started nearly 60 years ago. I can’t wait to learn more. All that’s needed now is my ‘Special Pass’, to be issued in the next day or two (fingers crossed) and then ‘Kenya’ here I come!
Thank you everyone for your good wishes and your support……