The first question I'm usually asked when I tell people about my year out to South Africa is "aren't you scared?" And the answer to that is no, or at least not yet despite the fact I'm leaving in 10 days. The next question that follows is "who are Project Trust?" So I thought it would be fitting to write my first blog entry explaining exactly who they are, what they do and how none of this would be possible without them.
I can't take the credit for finding Project Trust, in fact it was my sixth form that invited them into my school to do what I thought was going to be another painfully boring talk. I was very wrong...
Project Trust is an educational charity based on the Isle Of Coll in Scotland. They have over 40 years experience in sending school leavers to more than 20 countries across 3 continents. Volunteers are selected over a rigorous 4 day selection course on the Isle of Coll (which took me a plane, train, bus and ferry to get to!) where initiative, physical, emotional and academic strengths are tested and pushed to the limits. As cliché as it sounds you really do learn a lot about yourself over the intense week.
Much to my delight I was selected! And the quest of raising £5,400 began. Hundreds of letters, fundraising events and 10 months later I broke my target! This mammoth task would be hard enough for any 17 year old to do but while doing A levels, the DofE award and work for Uni I felt like super woman when I achieved what i thought was going to be mission impossible.
2 weeks ago I returned from another rigorous week on the Isle of Coll for training to equip me with some of the skills I will need to adapt to the different culture and work environment I will be faced with. Needless to say I had an amazing week and met some fantastic people I cannot wait to share my experience with all rounded off with a good old Scottish ceilidh (the Scottish dancing is still a work in progress).
Which brings me onto now. Still contemplating how to fit my life for a year into an 85 litre rucksack with just a 20kg baggage allowance. With only 10 days left here, a results day to survive and a hefty list of first aid items still to buy I am now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm so close I can almost smell South Africa, and it smells so good!