The clock is ticking, and the days are passing in a blur of nervous excitement and entirely irrelevant internal dialogue and doubts. How will it be? Will it be the same? Will everyone welcome me? Etc. etc.
FB, bless it, runs an almost daily memory jogger of the significant events of six years ago, my goodness six years almost to the month!
Sept 12th, 2013 saw a different and very excited with a dash of trepidation Gill, step onto the tarmac at Kilimanjaro Airport, Tanzania. Little did I know how right my bold decision and slightly insane and irresponsible self-focussed trip was to be. I could only hope at that stage.
From those first steps across the tarmac, through two weeks of dizzying induction at the Amani Centre for Street Children. Life in a six-bedroom in the delightful Hostel Hoff, to the end of a seven-month contract with Amani and the decision to remain in Moshi. To the many happy years in a small Tanzanian run “school” with no desks nor teachers, to running a volunteer hostel. Plus, of course, all the lives and stories, heartache and happiness. From that moment in September 2013 to the moment I left in March 2017 I grew a new skin, a new awareness of life´s fundamental needs and priorities and a new outlook on my future.
In only thirteen days time, I will again step off the plane and onto the tarmac at Kilimanjaro airport. This time I arrive with one of the two sisters I met in my former visit Laura with the other sister Daphne having seen me off at the outset of the trip from London. How appropriate and perfect is that?
Laura and I meet from our separate connecting flights in Doha and on arrival will be met by the family I truly consider to be my own, Fredi´s family.
Sister Sarah, her husband Yona (truly my son) and their own son Evan who is a new addition to this extended family.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since I left but the fundamentals of the person that I became in Moshi has remained strong, I have embarked on a new career to satisfy that indelible urge within me to do some good in my life for others, albeit in a small way, by becoming a live-in carer.
Thirteen days, come with me folks, join me and share the news on the many people I will again meet.
Each time we travel together I will unashamedly remind you of the need to continue supporting Fredi.
I give no apologies, simply my heartfelt plea. This next year´s schooling is the MOST important of all and the MOST needed. It is also, perhaps for me personally, the hardest to help with and so forgive my persistence in asking for your support.