An Unbelievable Gift

Kieron will be travelling to Zimbabwe as part of CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme. Originally from Manchester, he’s currently in Blackpool, working as part of the Chaplaincy Team at St Mary’s Catholic College. He shares his thoughts here as he prepares to go…

Kieron, pictured here with fellow gappers: Hannah on the left, and Steph, Bernadette and Leila on the right

Kieron, pictured here with fellow gappers: Hannah on the left, and Steph, Bernadette and Leila on the right

I’ve always wanted to travel, to see the world as it is among the raw beauty it holds (and sadly no, I am not talking about the 10 days spent upon the beautiful strip of the Spanish island Majorca, aka Magaluf).

Magaluf … don't make them look bad.What I am talking about is that sometimes it’s not always possible for people to get past those traditional British orientated holiday destinations and it can prove to be very difficult in today’s economic climate to have that sense of adventure. Sometimes it feels as though the more exotic the haven is, the more it appears to be only for those who are fortunate enough to be more privileged.

Alternatively, when people do travel it is not always to see the world’s beauty, or to have that adventure of being a post graduate taking a so called “radical GAP YAH”. It can be to spend time with those who you love and care for, the people who will be there alongside you hand in hand, and at other times it can be a journey of self examination to find out who truly you are whilst experiencing other peoples’ cultures and different ways of life.

Kieron with the entire Step into the Gap group

Kieron with the entire Step into the Gap group

As luck would have it, I came upon this great opportunity with CAFOD’s Step Into The Gap programme which has enabled me to go on a journey and not just one that has allowed me to travel but one that incorporates many of what I have just mentioned (minus going on the “radical GAP YAH”).

For me, this programme is about continuing my development in becoming the person I was made to be, whilst Òª¸getting to know who and what CAFOD is all about and the great and unbelievable work it does. It’s about meeting many different people and seeing their approaches and opinions on life and what it is to truly live… But wait! This is just in Blackpool where I am currently based!  I’ve not even left the country yet and the reason why all you lovely people are reading this…

396243_zimbabve_flag_1680x1050_(www.GdeFon.ru)Which leads me on to what this blog is all about – an incredible opportunity to work alongside CAFOD and their partners, to travel to Zimbabwe – a landlocked country in the south of Africa a pretty fair distance away: 7,565 miles to be exact. Come to think of it, I bet it’s not exactly the first country that pops into your head when you’re at home looking at holiday destinations eh?

But WOW, what an unbelievable gift this is.  An opportunity to meet people whose lives are different to ours. An opportunity to visit different towns and projects supported by CAFOD.

fear-of-flying-meme

However before this incredible journey in Zimbabwe can begin I must first endure the 19 hour flight it takes to arrive. It’s safe to say I ain’t so brave and heroic when it comes to getting on planes… not that I am brave and heroic any other time.

Although the official beginning of the Zimbabwe adventure begins at Gatwick Airport, the preparation began many oh so many months ago, and hats off to those who helped organise this.

Opo_Terser_-_Sitticus_fasciger_Jumping_Spider_(by)So one of my main fears… honestly there aren’t many… just a few, was the injections we had to have before the trip. See how manly I am sounding in this blog?! It’s not just flying I’m afraid of – while I’m at it, I might as well just say I have a deep phobia of spiders as well.

There, all done. I think. Had I not confronted my fear like Bruce Wayne and his fear of Kieron & Batmanbats and had the foresaken injections, I would not have been able to have the dreaded ,excruciating…… not being dramatic, nine, I repeat NINE, injections I had to have!

But perhaps the most wonderful part about this trip that I have not mentioned yet, is the opportunity I get to stand alongside five amazing/dedicated people, hand in hand, as we go along this incredible journey together as one with CAFOD and their partners. I believe that when we return, it may seem to be the end of the journey, but it is just the start of many more. Our lives will change forever.

Team Zimbabwe

Team Zimbabwe

So to all my fans I bid you all a farewell for now and I will see you all soon… coming to you almost live, except it’s not, but will be written all the way from Zimbabwe.

I leave you with a quote which continues to inspire me:  “Happiness is only real when shared.” -Christopher McCandless.

If you’d like to apply to CAFOD’s Step into the Gap programme for next year, see here for more details. Closing date for applications is 23 February 2015

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