We’ve been on the road for a month now and the biggest thing people say to us is ‘How’s your holiday going?’
This is no holiday, trust me.
Sure, we’re away from home for 8 weeks, so yes, it counts as an extended period of time. The recreation side of things is another thing all together.
The great thing is to catch up with many of the partners in our work, family and friends. We hadn’t planned to come away this year but our youngest daughter is about to be married, so we were coming.
If you’re spending $6,000 on flights, you certainly wouldn’t come for a couple of weeks.
Each weekend, we are in Auckland with our daughter and during the week we are visiting around the country. December is the worst time of year to fundraise so booking in group meetings is not just going to happen.
Weekends are full of shopping for clothes for the wedding, decorations for the wedding, going through the ceremony ideas for the wedding. Now we are getting closer it’s shopping for the household stuff and moving furniture into the apartment.
Since we are living off people’s donations, we have very little that we can financially contribute. However, we can offer practical help and advice.
As soon as Monday comes around we jump into the little Toyata we’ve been generously lent by the in-laws. Thankfully, we’ve been lent a fuel card for the month, so our petrol has been covered.
In some places we have back to back meetings, up to three a day. On Thursday we’ve squashed in 4. Today was the only day we haven’t had meetups with people or travelled.
No wonder we are tired, really tired.
What most people don’t realise is that this is part of work. Sure, we get to sleep in later but each day you’re telling people about what is happening in your part of the world. There’s still blogs to write, websites to update, fundraising campaigns to get going, emails to answer.
This is what they call ‘furlough’.
It’s not a holiday it’s a necessary part of keeping in touch with donors and putting a face to where their money goes. It reminds them that you are more than someone on a social networking site. You are human and you are grateful for their sacrifice.
It’s quite hard to let them know of the ever growing financial needs and the shrinking budget. You don’t want to seem ungrateful and that you need more. But that is the reality. The cost of living in East Africa is skyrocketing, while the income diminishes. Donors move to other countries, some just stop, others forget.
You also have to buy clothes and tools for the next 2 years. Pretty much everything is twice the price in Kenya so you have to outlay for what you will need. There are some things you just can’t get back home. For example, I bought a wooden clock for teaching time to kids – it cost a whopping $5. I’ve also got counters for using with a bingo game and Pete has picked up some chainsaw files. No point in having a chainsaw if you can’t sharpen it!
On the flip side though, catching up with people we haven’t seen, some for 15 years, is fantastic. We’ve eaten way too much food, stayed up too late too often and had time to hear what others have been up to.
So although it’s not a holiday – it’s still been lots of fun.