Africa here I come!

March 31, 2012

The week has really flown by and the induction has been very thorough so I’m looking forward to the staff night out later. One of the issues that raised its head during the week was the challenge to fund an organisation such as Renewable World. As I have experience with fundraising, both private venture capital and NGO, I can empathise with the pressures of running an organisation where funders are generally only interested in providing money for specific project work in the field. I hear people constantly ask about charities ‘what is their overhead?’ seemingly oblivious to the costs of fundraising, administration, research, governance and reporting. In the commercial world projects will include a percentage to cover overhead therefore I have never understood how it is that many foundations and even commercial organisations do not build in such an overhead when contributing to charities.

In the office, Sarah is at the frontline in terms of writing the countless appeals and applications for funding. As I know too well this can be a very thankless process and I’m delighted that on her birthday a cheque for £4,000 arrives in the post to reward her efforts. This money is not earmarked for specific field work so will contribute in some way to overall running costs. I have no doubt that funding will be an issue that I will return to but for now it’s time to pack my bags for my short return trip to Dublin before heading off to Kenya.

At last the time has arrived. I’m back in Dublin airport but Kenya bound. I’ve been to South and North Africa but never east so I have absolutely no idea what to expect. The UN website does not instil confidence with warnings of High Alert. In the past few months various stories of muggings, kidnaps and murder have been countered by smiling reassurances from people who have just returned, saying its all nonsense and Nairobi is no more dangerous than the average city. At least I’m medicated to the hilt and armed with tablets to cure all other eventualities. The scorching equator sun will burn me in minutes so my arsenal contains copious lotions to guard against this also. I definitely need to resurrect my travel days again…..surely all of this is nonsense.

As I check my bags at Dublin I can’t help thinking that fifty minutes is way too little time to transfer at Schipol. As we approach Amsterdam it seems I’m not the only one with such concerns as countless people call the steward to tell them they need to get off first if they’re to make their connection. Thankfully I know Schipol so I set off on a jog and when I reach my gate am reassured ‘yes of course your bags have been transferred’! Kenya Airways – The Pride of Africa is emblazoned across the Boeing 777 – 200 I can see out the window. I make my way through security and post one last minute update on my Facebook page before I climb aboard. The screens show the 4153 mile route map with estimated time of arrival 7a.m. Sit back and relax, there’s nothing I can do now. Africa here I come.