Sierra Leone soon……

untitledWell it’s less than two weeks until we head off to Sierra Leone on the international element of this voluntary year with CAFOD as ‘Step into the Gappers’.

We fly out on the 23rd of February, so the clock is ticking. It has all been a bit of a whirlwind and I don’t know whether it will really sink in until we step off the plane and into the heat and humidity at Lungi airport.

Until then, however, preparations are well underway. Defence against local insect life has been acquired: mosquitoIona 3 nets, covered shoes, long trousers, a selection of strengthy insect repellents including Deet-infused moisturising cream (which the sceptic in me knows is simply clever marketing but which still finds its way into my luggage..). To top off all defence strategies, the advice which puts the final nail in the coffin of ‘fashion’ to tuck the aforementioned trousers into our socks…très chic!

Our head chaplain reminds us that a daily dose of humility is always helpful, so I think I’ll get my yearly dosage out of this trip. I have been immunized up to the eyeballs with small doses of the most exotic array of diseases; typhoid is waiting for me in the fridge at home.

The irony is that even with all this preparation, the full immersion we are going to experience will find its way through the holes of our various safety nets and neatly trip us up in one of a million tiny and unexpected ways; but that’s the whole fun of exploration.

In addition to which, my blog posts will be inordinately dull if I do not get tripped up. So here’s to a month out of my comfort zone, a month of surprises, challenges, insights, and laughs.

Our 'bon voyage' meal with the Chaplaincy Team, CAFOD staff and Sr Anne SHCJ

Our ‘bon voyage’ meal with the Chaplaincy Team, CAFOD staff and Sr Anne SHCJ

Your prayers and thoughts would be much appreciated, and I will keep you updated via this blog!

Wish me luck….

Iona

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