Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Journey to Ndola

I am finally here! I arrived safely in Ndola on Saturday 3rd January. It was certainly a journey of two halves! The first flight from London to Ethiopia was really good. I had extra space as the seats next to me were empty, on what was otherwise a fully booked flight. Travelling alone encouraged me to chat to others and I met some interesting people – an elderly couple working as missionaries in Ethiopia, a lady who set up the charity ‘Project Pencil Case’ and an Israeli man who had lived all over the world.

The second flight from Ethiopia to Ndola (via the Congo) was definitely not so enjoyable. In fact, it could not have been over soon enough! Before the plane even took off, I started throwing up and continued for most of the four hour journey. Urgh!!! Ironically, I wasn’t ill at all during the turbulence so I could only put it down to the plane food from the previous flight. Thanks Ethiopian Airlines. I felt extremely sorry for the passengers around me! As you can imagine, it was such a relief when we did finally land in Ndola.

It has taken three months of ridiculously busy preparation in order to get here. So much so, that right up until the moment we left for the airport, all of my family were doing jobs that they’d been roped into helping with! Dad was typing letters; Mum was cutting and laminating resources; Rhi was downloading software onto my laptop and Rach was setting up this blog! My last term at school had been pretty crazy, whilst also moving out, letting my flat, changing my name, and most importantly, squeezing in time to see lots of you lovely people. Although my decision to spend a year in Zambia was made only a short time ago, it was not out of the blue as it might have seemed. My previous visits to Africa (although now over ten years ago!) inspired me.

When I was nineteen, I visited Africa for the first time. I spent two weeks with a team in Meru, Kenya. One of the projects we helped with was a feeding programme for the Samburu tribe. The following summer, my sister Rhi and I, joined a ‘Soapbox’ mission team to Kenya where we worked in the Kibera slum for three weeks helping to build a clinic. Then during the summer before my final year at uni, I went to Grabouw, near Cape Town, in South Africa. There I got involved in various community projects run by the local church (painting the building, helping in a crèche, pre-schools, and a home for children with Cerebral Palsy). There is definitely something about Africa that draws you back!

You may well have noticed that I love to travel! One of the things that appealed to me about choosing teaching as a career was that it’s a skill that could take you anywhere in the world…and the school holidays help with this! J Last year, when I looked into teaching opportunities abroad, I felt overwhelmed by the numerous possibilities available. I thought about it (which takes a while, if you’re as indecisive as me) and decided that I wanted to go somewhere where I could fill a need. I prayed about it and a week or so later, I received an email from a uni friend who was out in Zambia. Not only did she say that they needed a teacher at their school but they also wanted someone who would help with the project they run for orphans in the local area. It sounded right up my street!

I knew I wanted to get involved in working with orphan children. Sometimes I think the things that pull at our heart strings come from positive experiences in our lives, sometimes from difficult struggles we have seen or been through. For me, I think this tug to work with children in this context came from both. I have had the privilege of growing up in a very loving and supportive family and it is something that I think every child should have. On the other hand, I have in the past taught children that have not been so blessed, and I’ve experienced my own sense of abandonment, when my husband left me. I guess I have found that you can use your experiences to encourage other people (or that God can use you, even in your brokenness, depending on what you believe). It provokes you to want to make a difference somehow.

So, after nearly ten years of teaching and developing my skills in the UK, I am ready for Africa!!!


  1. So glad you made it safely but sorry to hear about your sickness.

    Really inspiring words about the connection with orphaned children - I think you're right, God uses those times of trial to develop us into stronger people, and to give us an increased understanding and empathy. I pray he continues to use your experience to bless others as you've blessed me. Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!

    lots of love xxx

  2. Thank you. Look forward to reading your blog too! xx