Tomorrow afternoon, I leave you fine fellows to teach English and discover my inner sand-demon in Sudan with the Sudan Volunteer Programme, (henceforth to be known as SVP). That is, if I can actually manage to move my bag out of the house. Apparently, six months worth of stuff is a LOT of stuff. Anyway - my plan is to do a weekly 'I'M STILL ALIVE' blog (providing that I am in fact, still alive) which may also include things along the lines of "I'VE SEEN A LOT OF SAND", "I LITERALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I AM" and "SURPRISINGLY, THE DESERT IS REALLY FUCKING HOT". If that sounds like your bag, check in once in a while and see what camels I've been wrangling that week or if I've managed to injure myself with a headscarf yet. This is all assuming there won't be too many powercuts and that I do actually find some internet, but all my several hundred Sudan-themed books say it will be fine. If this is so, then my first blog post from Sudan is likely to answer the question of whether I am indeed "on my own, crying" as my mother has so kindly predicted I will be, so you've all got that to look forward to.
It is about this time I should introduce you to Audrey. A palm-sized middle aged green turtle with a comprehensive backstory that I can't remember, Audrey first came into my life during last summer's heady excursion to Berlin. It must have been fate - we had 5 euros left over from lunch that day, and then what should we find, but this cranky-looking emerald delight deep in the depths of Berlin Zoo costing, you guessed it, exactly 5 euros. We swept her up at once, keen to give her a new life, where hopefully she would make up for some of her earlier mistakes, particularly those involving class A drugs and ill-suited men.....anyway. What matters here is that Audrey will be accompanying me to Sudan, both as my friend and mentor, and to give you the turtle's perspective on all things Sudanese. Look - she is literally all over her Sudan handbook. She's so ready.
Also - for those of you who watch the news and read the papers, I'll be in Khartoum for the first 2-4 weeks depending on various mysterious bureaucratic bits and pieces, and then probably in a fairly nearby city/village. It all depends on where they want to place me. However - I will not be going anywhere near (at least, not voluntarily) Darfur or South Sudan. No thank you. If serious fighting or other very dangerous things start spilling over anywhere near where I am, I will aim to run like the wind and/or get the next plane home, with or without my enormous monster of a bag. Audrey's safety is my main priority and she is not good in war-zones.
To summarise in a shouty nervous sort of way - GOODBYE, SEE YOU SOON-ISH, OH MY GOD, ARGHHHHH, WEEKLY BLOG NONSENSE, STOP THAT AUDREY, ARGHHHHH, SAND, CAMELS, MORE SAND, JULY 15TH, PONY. I will miss you all and occasionally cry sandy tears about you. And then have to drink about 7 gallons of water to rehydrate myself - so bloody thanks for that.
Lots of emotion and excitement,
Emily (and Audrey) x
PS - If you're bored and haven't looked at some sand in a while, come and visit! Or if you've been before, any suggestions on things to do/visit/eat would be spectacular. Unless they're bad suggestions.