Wow, I have had a lot of emails about my trip. Nice to know that people are interested and curious.
So, to answer your questions, some of which will seem very dull, but I need to make sure that my readers know what it happening.
1) I fly from Newcastle, via Amsterdam and then on to Dakar on Friday. I will then take a connecting flight to Banjul in Gambia arriving at 12:35 am Saturday morning. Hopefully Karen or Stush will be there to meet me!
2) We will be spending a few days in and around Banjul: resting, beaching, marketting, wildlife park visiting and generally being tourists. Then travelling to where Karen and Stush live. I will visit Karen's hospital, read, rest, be sociable and whatever else Karen and Stush decide I should do. Apparently they haven't worked that out yet. Sounds bliss! (No snow. Warm. Sun...... Sorry.)
3) I fly back to Dakar on Sunday and will meet the World Vision team later that evening. There are nine of us in total: six Ambassadors who have all sponsored children through World Vision for varying lengths of time. There are also three staff: Sharon who co-ordinates sponsorship in the UK, and two others whose normal WV jobs wouldn't take them to the field. They are going to see more closely what WV does. Great idea. We are all women, no men.
4) We then leave Dakar and travel nearer the development projects. We have been asked to meet various leaders of the communities, schools supported by WV, other projects with which they work and then we will meet our sponsored children.
5) I arrive back on Saturday flying via Paris and Amsterdam. Others in the group will be staying on for personal travel. Hopefully Ken, Angus and Isla will be there to meet me at the airport, but see below.
6) The trip is mostly funded by us: we pay our share of the travel, hotel, meals, vehicle hire and driver. World Vision staff have volunteered their time and are covering their own costs.
7) Ken and the children are spending Easter weekend with Ken's parents in Edinburgh. They are then all coming to Newcastle as Ken has to work. Ken and the children are travelling to Macclesfield the following weekend as Angus and Isla are spending the next week with my Mum. He has to come back to a week of batchelordom. (Subtext: climbing, squash, games evenings with Al, pub. Maybe some DIY). We are not sure how Angus and Isla are going to travel back yet. Ken may have to go and fetch them as my Mum has had foot surgery and is yet to drive. In which case it will probably be a taxi back from the airport. Some of this plan is still fluid but it will hopefully work out.
8) The aim of the Ambassador programme is to show us exactly what World Vision does, help us to understand more of what they do and how and encourage commitment to their work in us. Hopefully when we return we can raise the profile of World Vision by talking to people and making presentations to groups such as school, scouts, WI groups, churches, etc. World Vision is a surprisingly large charity, it is just not so well known in the UK. The talking bit shouldn't be too difficult for me, should it?!
There. Any more questions? Anything I missed out? Now I need to go to sleep - I woke up last night trying to work out what I had forgotten to pack and what I still needed to pack. As Ken says, "Just make sure you take your passport and credit card. If you have to, you can buy the rest." Just maybe not in Gambia or Senegal.