Today I’m wearing:
- The Dress;
- a loose stripy t-shirt from Topshop because I still want to be French. Yes, that’s a stereotype and I’m not afraid to use it.
- chino trousers from Gap that I loathe passionately with the fire of a thousand suns but I can’t afford new ones so I still wear them.
And so the juggernaut that is my African Adventure saga rolls on. I was partially awoken by a text message at 00:36 from Ethiopian Airlines saying my flight ET700 had been rescheduled. In my sleep-fuddled, glasses-less state, I was unable to properly process the message, only knowing that the time of one of my 6 Ethiopian Airlines flights around Africa had changed and it could well throw my other plans off course.
Have you ever panic-dreamed? Or tried really hard to be awake but been too mired in the depths of slumber to wake up? Then you’ll know how I felt. My dreaming brain was throwing up all kinds of problems that I just didn’t have solutions to. What about my internal flights in South Africa? What if I was stuck in Addis Ababa for days? What if they lost my bag? WHAT IF THEY LOST ME? It was a worrying time.
I finally gained enough brain power around 5am to turn the light on and read properly. Turned out they’d just brought one of my flights forward by 20 minutes, and as it was my last flight, I’d be back to Blighty 20 minutes sooner. But it was still a deeply unsettling 4 and a half hours for me. I am by nature a worrier.
The next obstacle was an old foe: the Yellow Fever Jab. I came back to my office after a meeting to a missed call and a voicemail asking me to ring Boots as there was ‘an issue with the certificate’.
“What larks!” I thought not.
It turned out that they’d filled it out wrong, and as it’s not valid unless it’s filled out right, I had essentially got a duff International Certificate of Prophylaxis in my Important Travel Documents folder. Could I possibly go out to Monks Cross again to pick up the new one?
I believe the expression for my reaction is ‘short sharp shrift’. If they thought I was spending another £3.70 + 2 hours off work to get on a bumpy bus to pick up a piece of paper that they mucked up, they were blatantly overdoing the smelling salts. They’re going to post it out to me.
To be honest, when I first heard the message, I thought “Oh hell, What have they injected me with?”
“Not to worry, Miss Rushby, just a mild dose of botulism. The paralysis will wear off after a while! OR spread to your lungs and kill you. Could go either way.”
Things could always be worse.
To be honest, I feel like I should’ve just taken my chances with the yellow fever. What’s a little fever/vomiting/muscle pain/jaundice/death when you’re on holiday, eh?* After all the gripes and niggles and expense, I bet this will be a very good holiday. It better bloody be, after the amount of stuff I’ve had injected into me. Not to mention the swimwear outlay.
I cried on the way home from work. At 16:51, we went past the £500 mark. I waited till I was on my way home because when you power-walk, no-one can see your tears.
Do you realise what that money means? That’s 23 workshops for Afghan women on their civil and political rights. That’s 10 community paralegals in Ghana, helping women obtain divorces, child custody or their own homes. That’s 1 woman in the only safe house in Ethiopia for 2 months.
That’s real lives you’ve changed for the better. I hope you’re really bloody proud of yourselves.
I thought about raising the target again, but there’s only a week to go. If you could donate again, if you want to donate again, please please do. If you haven’t donated, what’re you waiting for?! If you’re waiting for payday, I feel you pal.
More money means more lives saved.
justgiving.com/caitlinsdress or ODOM50 £2 to 70070.
I’m so incredibly happy and proud.
Thank you thank you thank you
*Mum, I am obviously kidding and I will always have the WHO recommended vaccines when I travel.