It’s been two years in the making and, after many months of planning, fretting, box ticking, training, troubleshooting and all round hard work, it’s almost impossible to believe that it’s now actually happening. We are going to Tanzania: woop!
Having a trip in the works for two years or more is nothing new, of course, but what makes this somewhat different is that we have a lot riding on it. This could be the start of a long and beautiful relationship between my School and the KYGN School in Tanzania, or it could end up being a one-off. It could be the most memorable thing 14 teenage girls have ever done in their lives, or it could be a tremendous disappointment for them (or worse).
Ultimately, we won’t know until we’re out there. Are we excited? Of course. A bit nervous? Naturally. Could things go balls up in the worst possible way? Very possibly. But that’s what you get when you’re navigating around a third world country with a bunch of teenagers who couldn’t be more dramatically thrown out of their English, middle class comfort zones. It’s thrilling, daunting, fun and unpredictable all at the same time.
The key thing, of course, is that every possible preparation to make it a fun, safe and life-changing experience for the girls is in place. But it’s also important to remember that things do go wrong sometimes, and that the girls will make mistakes, because this is a personal development experience for them. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to seeing them all grow up in front of my very eyes – which is a rare privilege indeed.
As this trip is all about the girls immersing themselves in the experience they won’t be able to access their phones and WiFi (which is spotty at best in Tanzania, anyway). Texting their friends back home or calling their parents at the first sign of homesickness would rather defeat the point of this trip. Before you ask, they will have the opportunity to e-mail/phone home at appropriate intervals!
Of course, we adults can’t demand this of them and then go and be tap-tap-tapping away at our phones the whole time. The upshot of this is I will be offline myself between the 9th and 29th July. So no tweets, no FB posts, no Instagram shots, and no blog posts for three whole weeks! If the thought of doing something similar fills you with dread then I suspect you might have got a bit too addicted to travel blogging. I’m very much hoping that it will do me good to take a break for a while!
But, it goes without saying, you can expect me to blog about it when I return – not immediately after, but soon. For, I am sure, there will be a lot to discuss…
See you in August!