One of our TriMalawi participants, Ian G Black, will be writing a series of blogs for us as he prepares for and takes part in the TriMalawi challenge this August.
Hello! My name is Ian G Black and I am very excited to be just 8 weeks away from the trip of a lifetime to Malawi. I work as Director of the Scottish charity Scottish Christian Broadcast, and also in a reporting role at Premier Christian Radio.
I am delighted to have been asked to represent EMMS International on their 175th anniversary year TriMalawi Challenge. I, along with 16 others, will be taking part in a remarkable adventure - a bike, cycle and kayak challenge. I will be taking part not just as an EMMS supporter, but in a reporter capacity, to bring as much coverage of the trip as possible to you and to as wide an audience as possible. I hope to increase EMMS' profile and awareness of their incredible work transforming lives through compassionate healthcare in Malawi.
It will be a great honour to walk, bike and kayak with the team across beautiful Malawi in August and attend a special Thanksgiving service with local partners in Malawi to mark the 175th Anniversary.
Tales of Malawi over lunch with Jack Dawson
I travelled south from Dundee to Edinburgh on Friday 17th June to meet Jack Dawson, who is my sponsor for this trip. Jack’s first words to me were "I've brought you a present". As if he hadn’t blessed me enough by sponsoring the trip, Jack had brought me a wonderful aromatic bag of Malawi coffee beans. I really love my coffee so he could not have chosen a more apt present! Over lunch Jack enthused about the country with such a passion that I felt as if I had been transported there.
The next steps
So, what am I doing in these early months? Well, getting through the required admin like insurance, passports and medical stuff, and now training is the biggy! Getting fit for the challenge is my goal for the next 2 months. Training is underway and I’ve already taken the opportunity to familiarise myself with a kayak at Compass Christian Centre near Glenshee hills - familiarising myself with how to use a paddle!
As you can see pictured, I was out in a kayak last night on the River Tay (as I live near Dundee) - what fun my friend Mike and I had paddling under the historic Tay Rail Bridge and between Broughty Ferry Castle and Tayport across the water. No dolphins spotted this time though!
This is my very first blog and I plan to prepare many over the coming weeks. I hope you will join me on my journey through the remarkable land and people of Malawi, as I share my own experiences and those of the individual members travelling in our team.
It's clear to me at the outset that each team member is passionate about the work of EMMS International transforming the lives of the most vulnerable in Malawi. Why else would we each give up 10 days in August and invest months of fundraising to be here? During the trip I hope to get to know each of the participant's stories and share them with you.
It's going to be an incredible journey!
If you would like to hear an interview on Premier Radio Ian conducted in April with James Wells, CEO of EMMS, please click here.