I’ve Reached My Target :)

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Some of us from training … I do not know why Ollivanders is in the York Shambles…. was this Diagon Alley?

WOOOOOOO HOOOO I have reached my £800 target!!! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and supported me, it means so much to me, Restless Development and will mean so much to the people we are going to try and help. If anybody else wishes to donate I am not going to stop you, every little counts! The link to my Just Giving page is below, it is totally safe and secure and goes straight to Restless Development, you can also gift aid as well.

I shall be writing a few more posts soon about my recent ICS training which took place in York, after meeting everyone I AM SOOOO EXCITED!!! Plus more about my fundraising very soon. I have just been over-taken with moving house, a broken car and actually fundraising to sit down and write.

 

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My Week With Muggins

Now I understand that most people do bake sales or a car-boot sale for fundraising, and believe me I have those events coming up very soon. Yet this past week I have been fundraising by cat sitting, and believe me when I say it has been interesting.

I am pleased to introduce you to Fairweather

I am pleased to introduce you to Fairweather, AKA Muggins.

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Fairweather after my aunt and uncle left, mourning their affection.

So the first thing, and pretty much the only thing you need to know about Fairweather is that she is quiet a spoilt house cat, the name Fairweather originated because she doesn’t go outside, under no circumstances will she go outside if it is raining or cold, and only for a few minutes if it is a nice summers day. But she will sit on top of the sofa and look out at all the nature as if this is somehow better because she won’t get mud in her paws, got to look after them nails. She does have a cat flap so that she may come and go as she pleases, however, she only comes in through the cat flap, as if she hasn’t somehow worked out that it goes both ways.

IMG_1987The first day was spent either asleep in her bed, or staring out of the window, this was fine. But in the evening her new favourite hobby shooting me with a death stare. Even after I fed her, I thought food equaled eternal love for cats… apparently not.

IMG_1990Did I mention that she also sulks? I was warned of this, but wasn’t quiet expecting that at bed time she would hide under the table or behind the sofa, refusing to go to bed. I eventually got her toy out to try and lure/trick her out, but she is obviously practised at this, running quickly from hiding place to hiding place. This went on for about 20 minutes, before I finally got her into her bed, and I could crawl into mine.

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Rule No. 2 – Lie in’s result in a bored Fairweather…. and that rug is ridiculously hard to straighten out.

IMG_2012Tuesday was a beautiful day, and I had some washing to do, so I hung it out on the line, and to my amazement Fairweather followed me outside. The first time I saw her voluntarily step outside since I arrived (and subsequently the last) plus playing in the amongst the plants… Okay who is this cat and what have they done with Fairweather? We are a good few months from June yet! I just had to get a picture, so dashed inside to get my phone and ran out and shut the door behind me but by now she was just sat on the edge of the patio, wondering what on earth I am doing. Anyway I snapped my shot, mere seconds before my phone died, I should have expected that to happen, seems to be a habit for my iPhone to die when it has 39% battery?!?! Anyway, rant over, Fairweather then decides she has had her outdoors quota for today and wanders inside through the cat flap and then I try to wander in through the back door. Erm.

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And my keys were mocking me, sat on the kitchen table which I could clearly see through the window…

MISTAKE 1 Do not shut the door unless you have a key, because there isn’t much you can do to get back inside. So there I am, in the back garden, with a dead phone, in my slippers…. F@£#!? Windows? All locked! Back gate? Also locked, and even if I climbed over the fence the front door is also locked. I’m now looking at the cat flap thinking I can’t fit through it but how can I unlock the door???? BUT wait, its electronic, controlled by the cats collar, and the cat is bloody inside!!!!! Luckily my memory kicked in to tell me about a hidden key? Where is it? So there I am routing around in shrubs, and soil, in my slippers, for 10 minutes trying to get this key. Anyway, I finally get in and Muggins is sound asleep, completely obvious to the fact that I am blaming her for locking myself in the back garden.

IMG_1978Wednesday brought a surprise, suddenly me and Fairweather are best friends, although if I am honest I think it was just a case of any lap will do, I want some fuss. However she has since sat on my lap IMG_1968many times and now all my clothes, even my underwear has cat hair on it. It’s a good job I am not allergic… I’m told itchy pants are the worst!

Plus playing with her toy, which I must admit has brought me some entertainment, since when she is hiding under the table watching like a hawk, head swinging from side to side like she is on centre court at Wimbledon, and preparing to chase this feather concoction, her whole body wiggles, but her head goes in the opposite direction… it’s like some move John Travolta would pull on a light up dance floor.

IMG_2029Friday was back to sulking. At bedtime I normally pick her up, and go into the kitchen, closing the sitting room door behind me so that she cannot escape to a hiding place, and put her outside. Then wash the few pots left over, before going to bed. Normally she’s in her bed before I have finished the pots. But tonight, tonight she didn’t quiet feel like that, instead sitting on the window sill was more her style, not even gracing me with her presence when I open the door for her. Instead she sat there and sat there. Until I decided fine I’ll switch the lights off, but didn’t want to leave until I knew she was back in safely. BANG…. the radiator just made the biggest noise ever, my heart is now racing. But I can still see the outline of her fur pressed up against the window so I stay put. Just as I calm down HUMMMM the fridge starts making noises at me. My nerves are in tatters, and then my vision comes into focus. I caught a glimpse of this shadow moving… OMG I jumped a mile, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??? only to realise it was a branch swaying in the wind. That was it, the final straw, Muggins could stay out there all night if it wanted, I was going to bed in a haunted house!

IMG_1974The hoovering was probably the worst part of my week, I mean how can one little cat shed so much hair, it doesn’t seem possible. So I get the hoover out, plug it in, all seems normal, doesn’t work… press every button on the hoover, which is only 2, several times, still nothing. IMG_2021I was getting so frustrated I was considering throwing out the hoover, or the cat… So in the end I reverted to sticky roller-ing the sofas but… Dark green sofas + white cat hair = no sticky roller sheets left! Eventually I worked out that it was the plug that was dodgy, probably my grandfathers wiring, not doubt my granddad was laughing at me too, on a Sunday morning panic trying to get everything perfect before my Aunt came home.

Anyway, she is now back with her owners, all the cat hair has been hoovered up and her welcome home present to them was to throw up, and continue throwing up, much to the delight of my Aunt, but it has been cuddles and fuss all round. IMG_2024But at least it has been an interesting week fundraising, with some giggles and running to shut the sitting room door before she escapes upstairs never to be seen again #HideAndSeekMaster! Plus it has brought me a lot closer to my target, over half way there…. India here I come.

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Exciting Charity Raffle!!!

Can you imagine not being able to ever get a job because you do not know how to write a Megaphone_Graphic_LRG uncroppedCV or do a job interview? Did you know that 83% of people under 25 in Uganda are unemployed. Can you even imagine that 50% of girls in India are forced into marriage before they turn 18? Well that is true. Can you imagine living on less than £1 a day, every single day? Over 1.4 billion people under 25 across the world are in severe poverty. Or having to walk 4 miles a day just for clean water? Restless Development, the youth led agency are changing this, with over 15,000 people working across Africa and Southeast Asia, we deliver vital messages and support them in their development. Already in India alone we have seen a 30% decrease in the attitude of denial towards girls accessing higher education, plus there has been a significant increase from 4% to 58% among girls who could report menstruation as a sign of puberty, before they honestly thought it was a curse. And a 20% increase from the baseline of 52% of young people knowing how women got pregnant.

And 10947231_1392730234366237_2988504014790588093_nif you are still not convinced about Restless’s work, we also work on very important issues here in the UK, we have taken part in Bite the Ballot, and campaigned about inequality. Plus we are currently running a campaign to try and change the fact that corporate tax avoidance is legal, allowing big businesses like Amazon and Google to avoid paying billions in tax every year, we pay our taxes so why don’t they?!?! Last year alone we missed out on £160 billion, that could run the NHS for a year! Plus at the same time around 13 million people in the UK including 3.4 million children live in poverty. #MakeTaxFair!

Young people can, you people do! What can you do? Buy a raffle ticket for £1 to help change somebody’s life and have the chance to win some amazing prizes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHOW TO BUY A TICKET ONLINE… email me at charlotte.louise92@hotmail.co.uk or visit this Facebook page and message me, telling me your name and contact details (contact details shall be kept strictly confidential). Then go to my Just Giving page and donate £1 for 1 raffle ticket. Make sure when donating that you display yRD raffle companiesour name, do not put anonymous, and state it is for a raffle ticket. Once I have received your donation then I shall message you back on Facebook or reply to your email, telling you your raffle ticket number. Then I shall make a note of your contact information ready for the prize draw and contact you should you win.

The Prizes

A Clarins or Estée Lauder Makeover with free Goodbag, Bennetts Ashbourne.

2 Theatre tickets for Cinderella, Derby Playhouse.

Meal for 2 at Mr Woo’s, Uttoxeter.

 Framed Artwork, drawn especially for this raffle by my very talented mum.

CinderellaEssential Facial and Back Massage from Josette’s, Nail Artist and Beautician, Ashbourne.

Bottle of Benromach Single Malt Whiskey.

2 Cinema tickets for a film of your choice at Cinebowl, Uttoxeter.

Gift voucher for Nando’s.

Gift voucher for Old Stables Hair Dressers, Alton.

A Bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne.

A Cadbury Chocolate treasure box.IMG_1856

The prize draw shall be on 4th May 2015 (May day bank holiday). The winners shall be contacted the same day, should a winner not claim their prize by the 24th of May, another winner shall be picked at random. A list of winners shall be published here.

Thank You & Good Luck!!! 

May I say a quick and massive thank you to all the companies and generous friends who have supported my raffle by donating some wonderful prizes. You will really be making a difference to people’s lives with the money raised from this!

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Thank You Mr Greenall

This post is just short and sweet, simply to thank the Hon. Johnny Greenall who has donated £100 towards my Restless Development fundraising.

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That brings my total up to £110 so far, now I have just under 4 months to raise £690, but I really think I can do it! Especially as I have a very exciting raffle coming up. In his letter he said the Restless Development obviously does much needed work, as having seen many of the issues both in India and Africa at first hand. Plus he wishes me luck…. thank you, I think I am going to need it!

So if you ever need a celebratory drink, or a nice meal, The Duncombe Arms is the place to go… I think I shall be going there when I return from India!Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 13.14.26

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My Gracious Host To Be…

Indian flag

The national flag, which was adopted in 1947, is a tricolor of deep saffron, white and green, and in the center, the blue wheel is called Chakra. which also appears on the lion column-capital of the Emperor Asoka at Sarnath. This carving, which is over 2,200 years old, is also a national emblem that is preserved in the Sarnath Museum. The sandstone carving features four lions back to back, separated by wheels (chakra , the wheel of law), standing over a bell-shaped lotus. The whole carving once was surmounted by the wheel of law.

The first phase on the ICS placement is quiet complex. Firstly there is fundraising, but there are several accomplishments achieved alongside fundraising, first and foremost it raises funds for the charity, secondly it spreads awareness of the work the charity and you are doing, one of the ways I am doing that is my blog. And finally it engages skills you might need whilst in placement, such as self-motivation, talking about the work you are doing to others, organisation, following tasks through to the end and brainstorming ideas. However the first phase also includes vital things like shopping for essentials ie insect repellent, vaccinations and applying for visas. Furthermore, one absolutely vital thing all volunteers must do is research their placement destination, with so many challenges to face whilst out there, such as the heat, the possibility of no or limited electricity or walking short distances with water. Research into the culture and language can be incredibly helpful! So here are a few facts about my gracious host to be for 3 months… India.

  • Full Name – The Republic of India
  • Population – approx. 1.27 billion people, 17.5% of the population of the world!
  • Capital – New Delhi
  • Most-populated city – Mumbai
  • Area – 3.1 million sq km or 1.2 million sq miles. (UK is 94,060 sq miles). India is the seventh largest country by area.
  • Dialing code… you know just in case you are offered the works mobile and fancy making some long distance calls, maybe order a curry? (not that I am promoting that in any shape or form!) – +91
  • Life expectancy: 64 years (men), 68 years (women).
  • Currency – Indian Rupee, 1 INR = £0.011 or £1 = 94.30 INR.
  • Indian rupeeMajor religions –  Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism.
  • Major languages – Hindi, English and more than 20 other official languages, in the north it is more common to find Hindi spoken colloquially and English used as the business language. Whereas in south India, often states use their own official language colloquially, alongside English to be able to converse without mis-understanding as it is uniform.
  • Current president – Pranab Mukherjee. He is the 13th president, and the first Bengali to be elected. He took over office from Pratibha Patil, the first female president of India.
  • Most common sport- India is big on Cricket, probably the English’s fault.
  • National Symbol –  The endangered Bengal Tiger.
Bengal Tiger

Bengal Tiger 

Indian monsoonThe climate – is changeable, classified as a hot tropical country, (except some of the very northern states which tend to have a cooler climate due to northeastern hills). Winter is from December to March, the coldest months being December and January, where temperatures are roughly around 12- 15 degrees. Summer, pre-monsoon, is from April to June, with the heat peaking in June reaching up to 45 degrees. Monsoon season is July to September, south India typically receives more rainfall, often causing floods. The monsoon season provides 80% of India’s annual rainfall. The rains impact the health of the Indian economy, as Indian agriculture employs 600 million people and composes 20% of the national GDP, good monsoons correlate with a booming economy. Weak or failed monsoons (droughts) result in widespread agricultural losses and substantially hinders overall economic growth.

curryCuisine – is obvious, curry’s are a way of cooking. About half the people eat rice as their staple, while the remainder subsist on wheat, barley, maize, and millet. Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and Christians all eat meat, with the all important proviso that the first three groups do not consume pork. There is an obvious difference in the diet due to economic situations, for instance, lower-caste Hindus eat any meat except beef, whereas members of the higher castes are normally vegetarian, with most even avoiding eggs.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Mahatma Gandhimahatma-gandhi

Most famous Indian Person – Mahatma Gandhi, needing no introduction, he was a prominent Indian political leader, who campaigned for Indian independence. He employed non-violent principles and peaceful disobedience. He was assassinated in 1948, shortly after achieving his life goal of Indian independence. In India, he is known as ‘Father of the Nation’.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

I can’t wait to go, help change peoples lives for the better, Gandhi is an inspiration. I shall have to carry on my research before I leave, maybe even learn a few Hindi words.

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Going Back to The Middle Ages…

HNY

Happy New Year Everybody!! Whilst everyone was out drinking, I was tucked up by a crackling fire watching a film and working on a fundraising budget spreadsheet, working on target aims for my fundraising events… Needless to say I am hoping to smash my £800 target! I sincerely hope your #2015 shall be as awesome as the one I have planned… I am so excited about my #2015IndiaProject with Restless Development!

RD AccomHowever this post is not about the frivolity of extravagant NYE parties but about the basic accommodation I shall face whilst out in India, I honestly think it is going to be one of the biggest challenges I will face yet. Often the volunteers stay with host families within the communities, yet we are going to some of the poorest areas to try and help improve the poverty cycle. Therefore a lot of the houses do NOT have running water inside, RD accomoso goodbye to that nice shower, goodbye to washing machines, goodbye to just going to the tap and getting hot water. Their is also a large chance that the accommodation will have “unreliable” or NO electricity, goodbye to the hairdryer, goodbye to charging your mobile phone, goodbye to an electric kettle… My Dad could not stop laughing when I told him there was a very high chance of no electricity in my accommodation, apparently the idea of third world Charlotte is highly amusing.

Email and InternetIn fact Restless Development recommend for you not to take your mobile phone, when will you charge it? And the most common way to contact home is to go to a local town and use the internet cafe’s. When I told my Grandma I was going to India she said “I want a daily text to let me know you are okay”….  pfft first of all a text costs 40p to send so I doubt I shall be sending daily anything to anyone. Secondly I won’t be taking my iPhone, she certainly was not impressed when I said I won’t be immediately contactable. But the Restless Development team leaders have means of contact, plus they have many plans/procedures in place for the assurance of volunteer safety. So looks like it is back to good old fashioned writing letters.

Poppy went to Uganda with Restless Development in 2013 and on her blog said this about her own accommodation : –

“I am living in one room with 3 other people. All our beds are along one wall and the living space and cooking area is on the other. Luckily we have a veranda as well so we sit outside a lot. It is like living in goldfish bowl, we have kids watching us all the time. Having “Mzungu!” shouted at you 24/7 is getting slightly irritating. We collect water from a borehole, which is 10 minutes away from our house. I can only carry one 20 litre jerrycan at a time, its sooo heavy! I get laughed at by the women at the borehole because of the way I carry the jerrycan and the fact I have to stop and rest every 5 minutes.”

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I have been doing a little research into one of the five states where Restless work in India, Tamil Nadu on the south coast.Thatched houses are common in and among concrete buildings in  Tamil Nadu, explicitly showing the differences between economic stations. A lot of the rural poor live in houses such as this, in other areas you can find slums.

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This is Laxmi is a young tailor and a mother of two who lives in T. Puthur, a village in Tamil Nadu. Relieving herself in the open is something she has always done. Now with support she was able to construct a toilet at home, and finally, is now able to relieve herself in the privacy of her very own toilet, in the comfort of her home.

Sanitation shall obviously be a large are a concern during my placement. I found a campaign to help build toilets in rural Tamil Nadu. One of the questions in my interview was “What if the toilet was a bucket?… What if the shower was a bucket?”. There was more than one account of living by candle light in the evenings, washing your hair in a bucket on the far side of your one room accommodation that was shared with others, practically no privacy. It is definitely another world, but if I can’t do it at 22 then when can I? I’m not saying it shall be easy, I have grown up in a privileged western society all my life, I can drive, have constant electric at my disposal, have a top standard computer and mobile phone, a dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer and power shower. But for the sake of helping one persons’ life I shall give it all a go, besides it will be an incredible experience, all part of the fun and I shall get to submerge myself in true Indian cultures.

 So do you think you could do a 3 month placement in these conditions?

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Fundraising Action Plan

MY FUNDRAISING TARGET IS £800 

My new phrase, I think I shall need it...

My new phrase, I think I shall need it… £800 seems a lot!

Why do we fundraise?

  • To show our commitment to the ICS programme and the work we shall be doing with Restless Development.
  • To develop new skills… these are often skills we shall be using in the placement, for instance, coming up with an idea, then being personally motivated to organise and following it through to the end.
  • To raise awareness of ICS and Restless, plus all the wonderful work we are doing across 24 countries with 14,000 volunteers.
  • To involve others in my experience, raise awareness and get the community involved.
  • To raise funds for Restless Development, although this International Citizen Service project is funded largely by the Department of International Development, we still need to raise between £800 and £1500 before we can go on our placements.

However I must stress that none of our fundraising goes to individual expenses, it goes towards in-country resources and aid, as well as ensuring our work is continued with future volunteers.

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Even a flip chart can help… especially when you have spent hours working on a Powerpoint presentation to get to the venue, when the community is arriving in two hours to find there is no roof let alone electricity.

I am fairly confident I can raise £800 in 5 months but if you have any ideas (that I can do relatively cheaply) please comment your suggestions below.  

My Fundraising Ideas So Far

  1. live_below_the_lineBag packing.
  2. Cake sales, maybe some themed around Valentines Day or Easter.
  3. Asking local companies for donations towards a raffle.
  4. A car boot sale.
  5. An Indian themed night, charge for entrance with Indian food and music, maybe with an auction of some kind and a quiz. I may even dress in a Sari, and invite some of the International Rotary members.
  6. Talking with my old Sixth Form, involving them in my work, spreading awareness of my work, maybe giving them the opportunity to let them do something similar, then seeing if they will hold a non-uniform day for me, or sell some cakes etc.
  7. Some sort of sponsored event, such as Live Below the Line for a week, maybe in a different fancy dress each day…. I’m thinking minions would be cool.
  8. Help-a-Student… when exams come along and students are buried in the library I could offer to make them tea/coffee or fetch them something from a local shop for a small fee.
  9. A cook book fundraiser, where I re-create famous Indian recipes and release the recipes for donations.
  10. I also have a Just Giving page where you could make donations, alternatively text CLHM92 and an amount (i.e. £2) to 70070.

Bring on #NY2015 I cannot wait to set all my plans in action 🙂

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How I came to be a part of Restless.

phone-in-bed-hazardOne evening I was snuggled up in bed trawling through Facebook to see the latest cute video of a pug jumping up the stairs or a funny screenshot of a classic text message fail. When I hit upon an advert that intrigued me, Restless Development, offering a once-in-a-lifetime overseas volunteer experience. I clicked on it of course, I have always tried to explore ways of both helping people and doing charity work, I have done all sorts, raised money for Blue Peter when I was young with a bring and buy sale, done a bungee jump for Cancer Research and supported the Air Ambulance.

I am also a keen traveler, having traveled around Europe and living in Vienna for 7 months, I am no stranger to being away from home. I have looked into helping building projects in Uganda or climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for Cancer Research, however these opportunities are incredibly expensive. One key attraction about Restless Development is that it is in partnership with the International Citizen Service, meaning 90% of ICS is funded by the Department of International Development, the other 10% is funded by volunteers fundraising. The fundraising does not go towards the volunteer’s expenses but to in country resources and aid, plus ensuring continued work with future volunteers. At this my ears spiked with interest, almost thinking it was too good to be true.5

After a little research in the early hours of the morning on ICS and Restless, reading reviews and blogs, I decided I just had to apply. You do not need any qualifications or skills, just commitment and passion about changing the world. Although you cannot chose precisely where you are placed if you are successful, but they take your preference into consideration.cropped-restless.png

A few days later I heard my application had been successful and I would be attending a Selection Process two weeks later, the good thing about this is all your travel expenses are re-reimbursed or they can book them for you. The Selection Process was certainly interesting, fun, and filled with inspiring videos and stories, firstly I had an interview which consisted of questions like –

“How would you react sharing to a room with four mattresses on the floor, unreliable electricity and a 7pm curfew?”

“What if the toilet was only a bucket?”

My only answer…. I’ll give it a go!

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One of the most inspiring stories I heard in the assessment day was about Brian Rockliffe, who is the Director of ICS. He was once asked what international development and volunteering meant to him. His answer – I went out to Tanzania to volunteer in a school and 30 years later had the chance to revisit the school and some of my pupils, one night I asked his friend who he kept in contact with for 30 years, What was the point of it all?… expecting a reply along the lines of my English greatly improved. His friend said, “Seeing the way in which you and your colleagues interacted, has changed the way not only me but my community treat women. It’s changed the way I treat my female pupils, my wife and daughters.”  To me that is an incredible development.

This is TOTALLY not our bridge...

This is TOTALLY not our bridge…

We also faced some assessed group tasks, one in particular was great fun… with 4 participants, 4 long pieces of sticky tape and 4 news papers we had to build a bridge to hold a small weight in 4 minutes. Then  we had 2 more minutes to make our construction and even stronger to hold more weight…. by this point we had used most of our cello-tape, and Hazel, our interviewer shouted ONE HAND BEHIND YOUR BACK!  That was when we really started working as a team, helping each other out, communicating, and laughing, great skills for when we actually go out.

At the end of the selection process we were told we may not find out before Christmas which seemed like a long time. But the very next day….. last Christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away…. sorry sidetrack! The very next day I got a call, I had been accepted to go to India in June 2015. OMG! I couldn’t believe it, I was walking around Tesco in a daze and forgot the milk. It was one of the best Christmas presents I have received and my parents and family I know are very supportive.

india

My placement is conditional on the achievement of fundraising my target of £800. Then I shall be getting on a plane in June for 3 months and challenging myself to change the world and I honestly cannot think of anything better to try and do. So now to think of some fundraising ideas…. if you have any let me know.

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