Thursday, 30 December 2010

The perils of packing

I have finally amassed a heap of stuff to take with me and I'm wondering a) how on earth is it going to fit into 2 bags? b) is it unreasonable to use 500g of my luggage allowance on jelly beans? and c) do I really need to take a whole pharmacy's worth of drugs, bandages and cures for every imaginable ailment out with me? Only time will tell the answer to these questions.
I think I'm going to have to get really creative with getting everything out with me. The first option is to wear most of my clothes at once. Now this is a picture of the man who holds the guiness world record for the most t-shirts worn at once (155) and I must admit its not the best look, although I do applaud his contribution to world travel by proving that is is possible to wear all your t-shirts at once.

Or another option is to get a coat with millions of pockets sewn in. They don't weigh your coat at check in so this has got to be an idea. Perhaps i could wear one like this?

I am just a bit worried that I will look incredibly shady wearing a coat like this...just imagine how long the strip search would take. My last idea involves Brussel's airlines statement that a separate 'ladies handbag' is allowed. So could I perhaps find the biggest handbag in the world?

This is every girls dream! There are no maximum size dimensions mentioned for a handbag on the Brussel's airlines website, but I'm a bit worried it won't pass through the security machine.

In conclusion, I think I'll try elements of all three ideas and see what happens ;-)

Monday, 20 December 2010

I shed a few tears...

Friday was my last day working at Hannah More Infant School and I spent most of the day playing in the snow with my lovely class and making games of pin the tail on the reindeer. After more than 5 years of working there I will miss all of the fab children and staff I have worked with, there is never a dull moment, I have been very lucky. It felt very strange to be leaving and it didn't really sink in until I opened my door to let the children go home at the end of the day, the second I shut the door I was in floods of tears!

I have been given a bear called Hannah to remind me of Hannah More when I am in Rwanda. She has very long hair just like me and slightly eccentric dress sense...the only trouble is stuffing her into the suitcase. I think she might have to suffer the indignity of being vac packed. The next photo of her might feature a green hill or two in the background, or maybe even a silverback gorilla.

Further to this I also found out a little more about the location of my placement. It seems I'm going to be staying in a place called Bicumbi, 16k from the main road and about 11k from Rwamagana. It is a small village, but it has some shops and a market. It was great to find out a bit more detail.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Skills for Working in Development and My first Christmas cake!

Well what a week it has been. I spent 4 days doing a vso course called 'skills for working in development' which was very instense but also really interesting. I now know that post it notes are very important when it comes to running workshops and I have practised my negotiation and conflict resolution skills with a very difficult fake Guatamalan boss!  

I have also just made my first ever Christmas cake to raffle to raise funds for vso...its not something I would normally make as I'm not the biggest fan of dried fruit but maybe this year will be the year I really appreciate Christmas cake. Absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say! It looked a bit wonky but surprisingly people have admired it because it looks like the ones in Marks and Spencers. We ran out of things in the cupboard to decorate it so it just has gold stars on the top.

Friday, 26 November 2010

On motorbikes...

The arrival of my motorbike helmet to take out to Rwanda with me has got me thinking - how do you stay on a motorbike wearing a long skirt and riding pillion over roads like these? I've never ridden a motorbike before, although for the past four years I have envied them as they weave through the traffic. I have felt like I've spent too much of my life sat in a traffic jam along the evil Coronation road or M5 in Bristol. Getting around by motorbike taxi will be a whole new experience for me, I'm looking forward to the challenge! Perhaps I will return as a hell's angel...

Road in Rwanda

Traffic jam on the M5

Friday, 19 November 2010

Feeling inspired :-)

I was searching through things about Rwanda on the internet and I came across a really inspiring initiative called Project Rwanda where they are promoting the use of bikes for business, fun and transport. I loved the Rwandan wooden bikes, I wonder if I'll come across one on my travels!

The link to the website is

My flight details came through a couple of days ago which has made it all seem really real. I'm so excited, but also wondering how I'm going to fit everything I need into a couple of bags. I was looking at some weird vacuum bags that suck all of the air out of your clothes in order to save space but then I'm worried that all my clothes will get so wrinkled that I will never be able to iron out the maybe I'll have to try to exercise restraint and limit myself with what I take...but then again...perhaps it is worth a try. 

Monday, 15 November 2010

Two months today I will be living here!

Thats right, in two short months I will be on a plane to my new home for two years. I am really excited but there is still such a lot to do! I am working my way through the list of vaccinations at the moment and the people in the travel clinic are beginning to know me by name. I know approximately 9 words of Kinyarwanda, the Rwandan national language and the French verbs are still getting the better of me! I've started to brainwash myself with repetitive French language CDs in the hope I'll kind of absorb it and become fluent in French in a traffic jam on the M5.