Category Archives: Travel writing

Into Africa

I was at my friend Laura’s house a couple of weeks ago. Laura and her boyfriend are going abroad for a year and I was in the process of arranging to rent a lovely, south-facing bedroom in their soon-to-be-vacated house. We were sitting on the sofa and Laura turned to me, giving me the thumbs-up sign, and said ‘Good news about Ghana; you were picked to go.’

Eighteen months ago I was unemployed. Five months unemployed and looking around for ways to productively spend my time in between job hunting, jogging and tinkering with my WW1 novel. Some friends had set up a small entirely volunteer-run charity, called the Lightyear Foundation (sorry – website very slow, in process of being migrated to much better one!). Lightyear promote hands-on science education in the UK and Ghana. Twice a year they run two-week trips to schools in Ghana to teach inspiring, low-cost science experiments. I offered to volunteer in the UK and did some project management stuff but, due to the nature of the charity, it didn’t prove to be terribly useful and my involvement mostly petered out.

Last October I’d ummed and ahhed about applying to go to Ghana but the time wasn’t right. I went to Turkey instead, doing research for my fantasy novel, but the idea of going to Ghana never quite went away.

Earlier this year applications opened for this June’s trip. I was still umming and ahhing. I made a start on the 250-word application. The days went by; the deadline approached. The evening of the deadline I got home about 9pm and watched a bit of tv. I turned on my laptop and looked at the half-written application.  At 11.30pm I emailed it in.

I waited to hear.

So, I’m going.  In June I’ll be spending two weeks travelling around rural Ghana helping to deliver science sessions.  I’ve never done anything like this before.  Eeeek!!

To find out what Lightyear gets up to, watch this inspiring video.