Saturday, January 21, 2012

Look what just turned up

Just a couple of days after I made the commitment and sent off my application to CYM for the Engage: Youth Ministry Training Course...onto my doormat dropped the course notes and folder (well I say dropped - it was actually handed over at the door by the postman as it was to big for the letterbox). In addition, having shared my plans with our wider leadership team at church I was pleased too receive their full support and prayers - they've even proposed that the church support me financially by paying the full cost. Not something I was expecting them to do.

Next up is the job of sweet talking someone into being my 'line manager' for the duration of the course as well as establishing a pastoral support network. Then it will be time to start the pre-reading and gear up for the course. Amen!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This really is a new horizon!

I felt 3 years was probably long enough and it was time to return to my personal blog with some exciting, and possibly scary news. Today I posted off my application to the Centre for Youth Ministry to join their Engage: Youth Ministry course starting in March.

Designed for part time youthworkers and youth leaders the course is delivered through 6 training days with additional learning guided through online study, guided reading and practice based learning. Successful completition leads to a nationally recognised qualification and JNC endorsement. Essentially it's a stepping stone to something a bit bigger!
This whole decision came out of a real challenge whilst at the Youthwork conference in Eastbourne in November to examine my commitment and role in youthwork and prompted me to look into some kind of formal qualification. At the moment I'm just testing the water and seeing whether me and youthwork are a good fit. After that, who knows.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Recent Musings

10 months ago I posted my final report on my trek across the Rift Valley. Have I not done a thing since!

It's not an excuse but I've been busy.

You don't need to know about all the boring worky stuff but the most important thing is what's happening now right?

Well just as a prelude following on from Africa I took part in the ActionAid Midsummer Challenge in the Lake District last June (picture below) and now...I need another one.

My thoughts are turning to this years event which takes place (naturally enough) on Midsummer weekend in Snowdonia.

In the next week or so I will commit and sign up...I think. In the meantime, if you'd like to join me - click here!

Midsummer Challenge

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Day 9 - Time for Home!

Monday 15th October
Despite the luxurious comfort afforded us, it was a disturbed nights sleep and an early rise of 6:30am at which point I decided to enjoy the final sunrise of my African adventure. I wandered through the complex which looked even more fabulous in the light I chanced upon the serene pool and inspired changed for a dip – very welcome, followed by coffee on the terrace. A breakfast of sausages and fruit followed then a lazy morning was spent around the retreat having bid farewell to several more travellers – continuing their trip on to the Serengeti and a few days of game viewing.
Eventually the time came for us to begin the long journey home. We stopped on the outskirts of Arusha town for lunch at a market where yet more purchases were made before making our way to the haven of the Jambo coffee shop in the city centre. After a quick drink and some fun with the hawkers, we set off for the airport at Kilimanjaro, with views of the mountain appearing more above the clouds on our approach.

Mt Kilimanjaro

We checked in and awaited our departure (delayed) before finally boarding and setting off for Nairobi followed by our onward overnight flight to London. Our trip was coming to an end and as we said our farewells at Heathrow we made plans for our reunion in the not to distant future.

Thankyou again for your support
Andrew Heinrich
November 2007

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Journal Day 8 - The Penultimate Day

Sunday 14th October
A slightly later start was tempered by the need to pack our bags and prepare for our drive to the Ngorongoro Crater and our reward of a days game viewing in one of the wonders of the world.
Several people took the opportunity to lighten their load by donating all manner of equipment (poles/ rucksacks/ mosquito nets/ first aid kits/ rehydration salts/ karri-mats) to our crew, I myself offering my spare trek t-shirt and my battered Sigg water bottle. After breakfast we said our final goodbyes and set off in our comfortable 4x4 jeeps on the 3-hour journey to the crater gate.
We stopped on the way in the town of Kerata for fuel and supplies and I took the opportunity to purchase a healthy bunch of red bananas (25 in all) for the princely sum of $5. These I distributed about the group much to everyone’s appreciation.
We continued on our way stopping briefly at the viewpoint above Lake Manyara before proceeding to the entrance to the crater where we picked up our permits and made our way into the park. Our progress was checked rather severely due to the rather poorly timed roadworks that were taking place reducing the only entry route to the crater rim to a single carriageway. On top of this was the seeming reluctance of anyone to aid the passing of a large work truck which resulted in a massive tailback and a standoff between sullen workers and irate tour guides. Eventually Zyggy took matters into his own hands and began showing the workmen exactly what they should be doing (much to their amusement) and the congestion was cleared allowing us to continue to the descent road some 10km further on. One final stop to have our papers checked brought an influx of Maasai hawkers to the vehicle – male and very persistent, but eventually we set off and began the drive down into the crater.
We spent several hours driving around the ‘natural amphitheatre’ spying the usual plains animals we had seen all trip (with the exception of giraffe – no food) and with the added bonus of buffalo, hyena, flamingo, warthog, hippos, elephant, ostrich and a lion with her 2 cubs feeding on a zebra kill. We also spied the backside of a rhino…apparently and were attacked by monkeys at the picnic stop who attempted all manner of tricks to get hold of our sandwiches including jumping onto the front seat of the 4x4 and opening Cheryl’s lunchbox. As the heavens opened we began our route back out of the crater stopping briefly where we seemingly got a little too close to an oncoming elephant for our drivers liking and had to hurry at some speed to our vehicle.!

Our journey back to our accommodation for the night was broken by a shopping stop before darkness descended and we eventually rolled up at what turned out to be the most wonderful of Maasai lodges – a real luxury resort in the middle of the African plain.
We learnt later that the complex (approximately 26 individual huts set into the hillside with restaurant, bar and swimming pool) was the vision of a Texan who, along with a local from Arusha had invested in the local village and employed the majority of the staff from the area to provide a splendid retreat and a perfect final nights rest for the weary travellers. The first shower and shave for 5 days (for me at least) was greeted with overwhelming joy and a 4 course meal of soup, salad, meat and dessert with a splendid bottle of wine was equally welcome. As we sat by the pool finishing our drinks we reflected on our journey, before all turning in to some of the most comfortable of beds ever known.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Trek Report - Day 7 (nearly done!)

Saturday 13th October
Our final early rise for our last days trekking and a cloudy chill greeted us as we prepared our day sacks and consumed our breakfast of sausages and cereal. We left on time and proceeded through the village of Gelai where we were greeted by many of the locals up early getting ready for the market. We stopped on the outskirts of the village and took our group photo overlooking the plains below and our days walk laid out behind us. Our progress was good, the kilometres being eaten up before the heat of the day had a chance to set it. We followed hourly stops for water and rest as we passed antelope and giraffe looking for what shade there was in the vast exposed lava plains. The imposing and smouldering Mt Lengai grew closer in our periphery as we began the final climb of our trek towards the Sunken crater. We lunched under shade and were immediately surrounded by Maasai women and children seemingly appearing out of the dust, we provided them with any leftover food we could muster and set on our way for the (apparently) final 4km of our trek.
In effect we had less than 2km to walk and as one by one we arrived at the rim of the crater we were each greeted by an applauding support team and a magnificent view over the crater itself.

Finished! – At the edge of the sunken crater

The final climbs had taken their toll on some – Mike in particular feeling the strain but managing to run across the finishing line after encouragement from all of those around him. Our intrepid ActionAid rep Katherine also suffered with blisters and the like but was able to cover the final 100m on foot after needing the use of the support vehicle – much to her disgust.
And so, we were finished. After all the preparation and training we had mearly a few moments of congratulations at the crater before we boarded our vehicles and set off for our final camp at the village of Engaruka. As we came closer to the village we could see the evidence of the difference water makes in regions such as this. Lush green plantations of bananas and mangoes greeted us and the size of the village itself took us all by surprise. We drove into camp and straight into a welcome (if slightly warm) bottle of beer and sat around reflecting on our own personal achievements while watching vervet monkeys and kingfishers playing in the branches above.
Eventually people found the will and energy to attempt some form of washing and dressing for our final camp dinner and subsequent cabaret. Food was followed by the presentation of awards by Cheryl our expedition leader (I myself taking the prize for best overall trekker/camper – by virtue of the fact I enjoyed the camping and apparently knew what I was doing). We then paid a final thanks to our generous and wonderful crew of guides/doctor/drivers/maintenance/cooks etc and settled around the fire for the evening’s entertainment. This mainly consisted of a number of songs and poetry from a small number of the group, I put in an appearance with the RSC (Reduced Safari Company) and a performance of the weeks experiences in a little over 3 minutes, in the dark.
The group gradually drifted to bed leaving the usual suspects to discuss the matters of the day over the final drinks (the bar having run dry) before turning in ourselves.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Found...Trek Report...!

Friday 12th October
Strange noises in the night kept most of the camp awake throughout. An early morning call at 5:30am identified the source of the disturbances as zebra marauding past the camp or the procession of the campers with dodgy stomachs backwards and forwards to the facilities…or both. Our morning ablutions were viewed over by a small group of giraffe on the outskirts of the camp. Porridge for breakfast soon prepared everyone for the days trekking ahead and a prompt pack away meant we were ready to leave by 7:15am. We made excellent progress in the cool air of the early morning and spied a number of animals on our way including more giraffe, Grant’s gazelle and a multitude of birds. We made regular water stops to ensure there was no repeat of the dehydration problems of the first day and by the time we reached the welcome shade of lunch we had covered 17km and only had 1 or 2 more to go before our vehicle pickup to the next night’s camp.
A wonderful lunch of fresh pasta salads and bread was swiftly consumed and after some altercations from a passing hunter in a 4x4 regarding permits we were on our way again for the final stretch. As we reached the non-descript mark at which we were to join the support vehicles and continue on wheels three of us requested to continue further on foot. After a short discussion it was agreed this would be acceptable and so myself, Amanda and Karen along with Armani our local guide and Philemon our Maasai trekked on whilst the vehicles left us and set off for camp. We covered a good 5km in the space of a further hours walking spotting many more gazelle and buzzards before deciding to jump on the 1 remaining support vehicle and drive the final 12km. We had only gone a short distance when we caught up with the rest of the group who were waiting by the side of the road after word had reached them that camp was not quite ready.
Eventually we were on our way and our disappointment at not being able to walk the complete distance to camp (some 40kms in
the day) was turned to relief as we began a steady but significant climb to our camp high in the hills above the village of Gelai and near the sacred Maasai mountain Ol Doinyo Lengai, an active volcano which had in recent months started spewing ash and smoke again.

Whilst the majority of us soothed our feet in warm water and drunk cold beer we were entertained before dinner by somewhat reluctant Maasai dancers from the local village who put on a half-show of sorts. After dinner we again made use of the camp fire before turning in for a good nights rest before our final day of trekking tomorrow.