Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I'm Going To Uganda with Send A Cow

In approximately two weeks time I will be boarding a flight at Manchester airport and embarking on one of the most life-changing, and no doubt challenging, experiences of my life.  Even as I sit here writing this my heart is thumping as I consider all that lies ahead.

I am a big believer in things having a time and a place, and even before I started writing my blog in 2012, I always wanted to be able to work with charities, particularly in developing countries.  I think perhaps inspired by my visit to Zambia in 2006, it has long been at the back of my mind but wasn't ever something I thought could happen in the present time, especially being mummy to two young children.

My blog has opened doors and given me some truly fantastic experiences and as regular readers will know, I was shortlisted for a trip to Cambodia in March this year but didn't make the final cut.  Well, this time I did make the cut and I couldn't be more excited!

I fired off an email without a second thought in September when I saw through Mumsnet that Send A Cow were looking to send a blogger out to visit some of their projects in Uganda and to share some of the amazing work that they are doing, never truly considering the possibility I'd be selected.  As you can imagine, my jaw almost hit the floor when I had an email back to say that they wanted me to be the blogger they worked with and I'll admit I spent a good few days flitting between elation and complete terror.

It's the longest I will ever have been away from Meg and Eli but honestly, it is such a once in a lifetime experience that how could I ever turn it down?

So, now I sit here with aching arms from the many vaccinations, with the words of my nurse ringing in my ears as she stressed about everything from me falling into dirty water to getting lost at the airport (I think it must be a small village thing!) making lists and considering all the things I am going to get to experience whilst in Uganda.

For those who don't know, Send A Cow works with communities and farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, to provide them with the necessary skills and tools needed to begin the long climb out of poverty.  They began working in Uganda in 1988 and have seen amazing results, with a number of families now growing surplus food, setting up their own small businesses and being able to send their children to school and university.

They also work in other countries including Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho and Zambia.

It is such a privilege to be invited to travel out with the charity and I can't imagine how it will be to see the projects up close, but I know from my time in Zambia that it isn't anything you can plan for.  I hope to be able to share on Twitter and Instagram whilst I am out there (providing my husband doesn't keel over at the data charges) but if my blog suddenly goes silent in November then rest assured I will have plenty to share when I get back.

If I don't get lost in the airport that is...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Slugs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

I think I have mentioned before about Meg's love of all things animal related.  She likes nothing more than getting up close and personal with furry creatures, and we often have to deflect her requests to adopt and bring home various creatures.  This year she has even decided that when she grows up she wants to be a vet.

Now, I can just about handle the usual things you come across at children's petting zoos such as rabbits and guinea pigs and the like but on our recent trip to Astley Park we discovered that their idea of a 'pets corner' featured creatures of the reptilian kind.  

I won't dissemble: I don't like snakes.  I don't like lizards.  I don't like things which slither, or creep, or crawl or hop.  I don't like anything which looks as though it might take great delight in swallowing me whole.

Imagine my delight then, when I walked into the petting zoo to discover that Meg had a snake wrapped around her.  Yep, unfortunately for me, it would appear that Meg is the exact opposite.

In fact, the whole of my little family got in on the action.

Seriously, how much does this snake look like it's sizing Eli up!?

But our encounters with creepy creatures didn't stop there.  Perhaps inspired by their meeting with the bearded dragon and the snake, the kids then went on a bug hunt where they uncovered a number of worms, snails and ladybirds which were then proudly presented to us.

I smiled.  I congratulated them on their discoveries.  I pretended I was thrilled to have a worm dropped on my shoe.  

I was none of those things.

Next time, I think we'll just stick to the real zoo!