Final packing done, last goodbyes said and I am on my way! Arriving at Heathrow airport I was met by three of the boys – Calum appeared to have organized everything including a journal with messages from my dear friends and all the boys, together with plenty of photos! He was wise enough not to present this to me until the last minute because it got the anticipated reaction – tears, lots of them!!
Two other volunteers that I had previously met at a VSO training session and already considered friends, were also at the airport and we managed to secure sitting together on the plane which made a long and rather tedious journey much more fun. The only thing mentioning about the flight was the woman sat at the back of the plane. She was being deported and had eight rows and two security guards all to herself! As it turns out no amount of space or security was going to help us as she proceeded to scream at the top of her lungs for 3 solid hours! Fellow passengers decided to help the fraught security guards to no avail in the end exhaustion won the day and she slept.
Arriving in Malawi we were greeted by VSO and taken to a hotel, the base for our week long in country training. With no time to even catch our breath sessions started followed by a party hosted by volunteers already in the country. It was great to meet everyone but after one beer I was to be found sound asleep on a sofa.
The week passed with some fun lectures and some not so. But health checks now done, bank accounts opened, registration with NMC started and essentials purchased. For me one of the most important aspects was the friendships that have already been made. These people together with volunteers already here are going to be my lifeline. Knowing you are not alone and that you have some support when times are tough is going to be vital.