So as promised, the next blog post! A little later than anticipated but I have been super busy with college work and revision, not to mention fundraising. I thought, as this is the first real post, I would explain a bit about what I’ve been up to so far being a Project Trust volunteer.
This time last year, I knew I wanted to do something before uni but I didn’t know what, and after hearing about Project Trust through various friends and a talk at college (from a returned vol, Charlie who went to Botswana), I loved the sound of PT and it just seemed like the perfect thing for me to do. I signed up the same week Charlie gave the talk in assembly and booked straight onto a selection course! I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I was on the August 5th-9th 2013 selection course, with some amazing people, on the Isle of Coll where Project Trust is based. The journey to Coll took a few days (it’s a long way!) and after a train from London to Edinburgh, a lift from Edinburgh to Glasgow (thank you Dad!), and a train from Glasgow to Oban, I arrived in Oban where I stayed overnight at Backpackers in order to get a very early ferry to Coll the next morning…the journey there was an adventure in itself! I didn’t meet any other fellow PT volunteers till I was stood outside the station at Oban trying to determine where the hostel was and frankly, looking rather lost! But I soon found another lost looking volunteer and we found our way to the hostel together where we soon relaxed and an evening of card games and chatting with the other volunteers shortly ensued. The selection course itself was an intense few days of workshops, talks, presentations, paper work, lazy bed digging, walking, biscuit eating, tea drinking and ceilidh-ing, but I enjoyed it so so much and came back from Coll exhausted but even more excited about the prospect of a year abroad with PT.
All that we could do now though was wait for ‘The Letter’ saying if we’d been accepted or not and confirming our top three country choices…needless to say, I was selected and my country choices were;
- South Africa.
Almost all volunteers end up going to their first choice and fundraise for that country placement but we have the other two countries as a back up in effect, just in case anything goes wrong at the projects volunteers are sent to or within the country.
Now, for the fundraising…!
In order to get to Guyana, I need to raise £5,600 for Project Trust, which covers pretty much everything I need, except jabs and visas. I have to admit, £5,600 sounds like an awful lot to raise and it is! But with the help of friends, family and some very generous strangers, I’ve almost reached my target! So far I’ve held more bake sales than I can remember, packed bags at my local supermarket, did a sponsored dress for a month, been a ‘Personal Tailor’, altering clothes for family and friends, sold jewellery and other handmade bits and bobs at Christmas fairs, received numerous donations from various individuals (check out the thankyou page), been baby sitting for neighbours, held a Burns Night supper and written almost 100 letters to grant giving foundations! It has been tough to fit it all in between college and exams, whilst still maintaining that all important ‘balance’ everyone talks about, but it has been a wonderful experience (so far!) and has really helped build my organisation skills and confidence, asking people for money is a lot harder than you might think!
My ‘journey’ as a PT volunteer so far has been incredible and I have loved (just about) every minute of it! It was really important to me that whatever I did during my year out was with an organisation I liked and felt comfortable volunteering for. Project Trust is a small charity and, as cliché as it sounds, really does feel like a family. The levels of support they provide really help make the whole experience so much more enjoyable and getting to know the staff and other potential volunteers over the selection course just made me fall in love with the charity as a whole, the way they work, what they stand for and how they look after and value their volunteers. I promise they haven’t made me say any of this either!
In short, just in case it hasn’t been clear, I can’t wait to go to Guyana and I am so excited about what next year will hold!
Anyways thank you for taking the time to read all this but that’s all for now. I’ve got more news and a very very exciting update coming very very very soon so stay tuned!! And for all those who were on my selection course… stay pulchritudinous! 🙂