Countdown: 2 weeks to go, less than a week for the co-ordinators.

The team are getting to know each other quickly! At our first group meeting, the conversation immediately got back to basics with a very animated discussion on our packing list – forget our lofty motivations of saving the world – we all wanted to know why it’s a good idea to bring immodium, condoms, wedding rings and clean syringes. Our veteran Camara volunteer, Rory, regaled us with stories of Mombasa, and Ali, our hosts’, willingness to show us the nightlife. If this was the first half hour the conversations don’t bear thinking about in Kenya J

This week there another reality check, as our tickets arrived, and we spent two days in Kimmage Development Studies centre, talking about culture shock, our expectations, development issues and health and safety on the ground. It was great to meet all the other volunteers also, and the facilitators were great. It was explained to us that we can naturally get negative towards our host country in the beginning when we can’t understand how things work – a well-orchestrated card game illustrated how we can think people are stupid when they just have different rules to us. We have as much to learn from our hosts as they from us. The importance of the human being, the family and community in Africa is something I’m looking forward to, in Ireland we go so fast we tend to forget to say “Good Morning” sometimes, we’re so busy getting things done. We have been focusing a lot recently on teaching training and getting the logistics ready, so it was a great opportunity to remember why we signed up for this in the first place. The reality of getting on a plane in two weeks is starting to dawn.

On to the packing! I don’t think I’ll ever be as well prepared for a trip. It’s important, because if anyone gets sick, the rest of the team will have to take on their work.