Admittedly, I was surprised. Seventeen days of trekking in the sweltering heat isn’t everyone’s notion of delight. On the final day of trek I asked the shower-starved, sleep deprived, noodle filled volunteers if they were looking forward to the Glorious Return to WAMO with all its glittering comforts (hot showers, a bed, hot, freshly cooked food and a shop filled with toiletries and sweet treats). Naturally, I expected a resounding, hankering ‘YES’; for the past three days this ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ had seemed to be the chief incentive that was propelling every homeward-bound step. But upon reflection, tangled up with the inevitable chords of relief and happiness that came with completion, there was already an impending sense of nostalgia in the air. ‘I’ll miss the simple way of life out here,’ Harry confessed. Daan, though looking forward to spending Phase Two on one of the community projects, was also reluctant to leave the tight-knit ‘family’ of Alpha One. This premature nostalgia and sense of secret, shared camaraderie filtered through all the groups. ‘It’s strange to think of life outside Alpha Two,’ Sarah laughed when I was filling her in on my Alpha Three visitation.
But change, though daunting, is good. Volunteers and Volunteer Managers broke into warm smiles and embraces as they disembarked at WAMO on Sunday afternoon. Stories were exchanged, gushed out excitedly. In the evening each Alpha group performed a (highly entertaining) ‘skit’, or theatrical performance, summarising their experiences of and what they had learnt on Phase One. This was followed by slideshows, hot food, and much merriment.
On Monday, after an enlightening Quiz evening on the Global Goals and development in Tanzania, the sparkling new Phase Two Allocation groups were revealed. For some of our volunteers, Phase Two will be their final stint of Expedition 15K. For the six new volunteers who arrived on Sunday, Phase Two will be just their first taster of Expedition life. It’s fantastic to see some shiny new (clean!) faces join us, and we look forward to witnessing the fresh dynamics of the new Alpha groups for Phase Two. After reports of such a successful Phase One, we have every confidence in all the volunteers and what more they have to offer on their new project sites.
And so, the ‘Passing of the Torch’ group allocations are as follows…
Alpha 1 – Leadership Development Trek in Iringa
Back row: Charlotte, Masota, Harry, George, Ellie, Sascha, Abi, Emma
Front row: Fergus, Jacob, Alex (Medic), Andy (Project Manager), Ben, Patrick (Project Manager), Josh
Alpha 2 – SWASH Project in Endagikot (Schools, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
Back row: Laura, Kate, Stephanie, Ashling (Project Manager), Halima (Project Manager), Alec, Georgia, Ibrahim
Front row: Rich (Project Manager), Thomas, Daan, John, Zoe, Chacha, Richard, Lee (Project Manager)
Alpha 3 – Community Resilience Project in Didia
Back row: Ian (Project Manager), Evodia, Sam (Medic), Millie, Florence, Dadu, Emmanuel, Sarah (Project Manager)
Front row: Corin, Antonia, Daniel (Senior Volunteer), Sarah, Menno, Christopher, Harry, Masota
May they all Raleigh onwards!
Words by Milly Langford
Images by Natalia Horinkova