Oh Africa

African children

This is my second article for University of Westminster Smoke Magazine – Summer Round up issue. I shouldn’t really post this until the 14th but ssh.

Summer 2012 is an exciting time for all of us as well as for the UK, proudly welcoming the start of the Olympics. However great it will be for us Brits to be in England this summer, I have something bigger and better planned, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

As people flock to the capital, I will be departing London onboard a delightfully long flight to Ghana, where I will be volunteering for a month for the charity Thrive Africa. The charity has given me the amazing opportunity to help with development projects across Ghana, such as the building of a school library, redevelopment and sustainability initiatives for the Kumasi Orphanage, and support work with Ghana registered charities, where I will be helping to teach English and IT skills to orphaned children.

I’m sure some of you saw the recent ‘Holidays at home’ TV advert over the Easter holidays? Although they are right about the nuisance of Passports, jabs, Visa’s and Euros, I’m not that easily put off. “Why on Earth would anyone want to go abroad in 2012?” asks Stephan Fry. Well, for me it’s sight seeing, safari, culture, climate, teaching, exploring, making new friends and opening your eyes to the world. I am volunteering because I care and I want to give something back. These people didn’t ask to live in poverty, sickness and distress and I like to think that volunteers are slowly helping to make things better year by year, and I’ve finally found the courage to do it myself.

Most people who know me are aware of my trip, and I am always asked how excited I am to be going so soon. Of course it is beyond exciting, but tinged by nerves. But life would be pretty boring if your biggest dreams didn’t scare you slightly, that’s how I think of it anyway. If you read this and want to donate anything towards my trip, I will be much obliged, please feel free to visit the virginmoneygiving website and enter my name under sponsor a friend. The rest is up to you.

In the words of Akon’s ‘Oh Africa’: “No matter what happens at least I can say, I came, I saw, I tried” to make a difference. I wouldn’t be going on this incredible trip if it weren’t for an email I got forwarded from the University, so it’s worth checking your Gmail occasionally!

Have a great summer everybody.

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