Sunday, April 29, 2007

Our £1000 Fundraising Target Reached!

After a generous donation of £250 from Ifor Williams Trailers Ltd we have finally reached our target of £1000.

Curry and Ceilidh: Kwaheri* and Fundraising

That's what friends are for!

On Saturday April 28th we had a really enjoyable knees up at Llanfair Village Hall dancing to the Angels' Share Ceilidh Band and enjoying curries, conversation and camaraderie to its full. Thanks to everyone for mucking in with the cooking, preparation, washing up, clearing up and fund raising, and for making it a great evening.
You can view a photo album of the evening by clicking on this link:

You can view the resulting donation to VSO of £500 at:

Well done everyone - what a great bunch of friends and acquaintances, keep in touch after we depart on Sunday May 13th.
* Kwaheri is the Swahili word for Goodbye

Saturday, April 14, 2007

SKWID 2007 April 10 -14

A Brilliant Team
We have just completed an intensive 5 day Health and Skills for Working In Development (SKWID)Programme at Harborne Hall in Birmingham; a tough but enjoyable and really useful course with a great crowd of people who are heading to Ghana, China, Namibia, Malawi, Nigeria, Gambia and Thailand. We hope to keep in touch. Jenny also stayed on for an additional days's training for Teacher Trainers.

Ali, Carol, O, Bernie, Tessa, Martina, Scott, Emma, Pete, Stuart, Dorothy, Claire, Nigel, Jenny, Beth, Serita, Kate.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Budding Hell's Angels!

Motorcycle Training for Ghana
Well, much to my amazement we have now both joined the ranks of 'competent' bikers. I use that word advisedly as after the last four traumatic days I have managed to trash a couple of rows of traffic cones, dropped the bike on my leg, nearly run the instructor over, burst into tears countless times with frustration ~ (all this fortunately in the safety of a large car park training area) and eventually, successfully, clocked 190 miles of road biking around the glorious Shropshire and Worcestershire countryside in beautiful sunshine. I must point out that the above frustrations only apply to me, as Nigel had already had some biking experience (from a misspent youth I expect) and picked up the techniques with no problem at all. And I must thank our instructor, Trevor who had infinite patience thoughout the whole of what was to me both a terrifying and amazing experience.

You might be asking why have we suddenly gone totally insane and learned to ride motorbikes at our age - dedication to VSO. The CBT Certificate (Compulsory Basic Training for motorcycle riders) ~ we can't go to Ghana without them as motorbikes are the form of transport provided for us out there. We are both so pleased that this major hurdle is now over.

Biking is certainly not something I would initially have chosen to do, but then in life there are many challenges which seem impossible that you are pushed into and find that you actually can do them if you don't give up at the first hurdle.

Day 1: Initiation - Desperation
Car park - coned off and marked out with a road junction with white lines etc. First half of the morning/day - get to know the bike, safety checks, gears, clutch, throttle, Highway Code etc. Start bike and ride up and down. No problem except I can't turn the corner and go careering out of the coned area!! Ooops. Don't seem to be able to slow down, speed up without behaving like a kangaroo. This is not supposed to be happening.
End of day - Me - worried, frustrated, feeling sick - 'Nigel, do you mind going to Ghana without me!! I can't do this'

Day 2: Frustration - Palpitations
Still in the Car Park a.m. Petrified, still can't do a U turn, can't get from 1st into 2nd gear, demolish the cones (again) and make a complete hash of turning right out of a mock up junction. Need more practice (on everything)
p.m. this can't be right - we're going out of the gate and into the local housing estate. Follow Trevor round in a complete trance, doing all the right things (just) but only because he keeps telling me what to do. 4 times round the estate and we get back to the car park, still in one piece and feeling a little exhilarated that I'm back in one piece, confidence growing.
Day 3: Anticipation - Satisfaction
Arrive at the car park and no cones!! this means business. Off out onto the open road towards Ludlow. Cups of tea en route - now this is more like it. Arrived at our destination - not without minor hiccups on the way but nothing major.
3.00pm Arrive back at the training centre exhausted but feeling much more cheerful having done 90 miles in lovely countryside.

Day 4 - Exhilaration
Another glorious day out in the Shropshire/Worcestershire coutryside (confidence growing - actually reached 60 mph) exploring the Clee hills and as many back country lanes as possible with Trevor finding a few challenges for us like fording a river and vertically steep hills, both up and down!! Lunch on the top of the hills was just glorious.
After 4 days of intensive concentration I was pretty tired and glad when we got back to the training centre at Kidderminster and even more delighted when Trevor pronounced us competent enough to be signed off and ready for the Ghanaian dirt roads that we will no doubt encounter in the very near future.
Thanks Trevor and VSO, another skill under our belts that we never envisaged acquiring at the age of 59/60.

Flights are booked we're on way!

It's confirmed, our flights are booked and we will be leaving Manchester for Accra at 10.00 on Sunday May 13th