Hello. My name is Ian G Black and I am very excited to be in the final week before setting off to Malawi with charity EMMS International. I work as Director of the charityScottish Christian Broadcast and also as a Scottish reporter role for Premier Christian Radio.
I am delighted to have been asked to join EMMS on their 175th anniversary year TriMalawi Challenge to increase EMMS' profile and awareness of their incredible work transforming lives through compassionate healthcare in Malawi and beyond.
I will be using the 10 days in Malawi to absorb as much of the culture, scenery and team experiences as possible. I’ll be bringing this to life for you through photos, videos and a series of blogs.
Have I done enough training? I think so... I hope so! I'm just back from a 15 mile cycle around the Carse of Gowrie where we live between Dundee and Perth. Its a bit like Holland - flat as a pancake - so when the wind blows there is no place to hide. There was no hiding place today - I am exhausted!
In the past week I have also cycled over Glenshee - the highest A road in the country. OK that's a cheat story, I actually got a lift to the top and cycled down on my new-to-me bike but I did then cycle a further 20km to my parent’s home in Ballater.
So yes training has gone well - except for a niggly knee and whilst I am not unduly concerned, I would value prayer for this.
My wife Sandra has been fantastic and though she is not going on the trip, at this stage she knows more about Malawi than I do! "How do I charge my phone in Malawi? Do I need an adaptor?" I have just asked her. (No they have UK sockets she tells me immediately!) I owe her a huge debt of gratitude and without her I'm not sure I would be ready to take up my place on the starting line.
Big thanks also must go to Louise Stuart at the EMMS office who has kept me up to speed with so much info. I have all the kit I need - maybe just one more shopping trip to Tiso planned to purchase one or two things - but essentially I now have all I need.
Neighbours have kindly offered to drive me to Dundee train station so Sandra doesn't need to wake the whole family. I have 3 girls Anna 8, Rachel 6 and Sarah 3.
I have asked for prayer for my knee already, but can I ask you to pray for every member of the team - that we all are injury free, gel well as a team and have lots of fun.
It will be a great honour to trek, bike and kayak with the team across beautiful Malawi in August and attend a special Thanksgiving service with local partners to mark the 175th Anniversary.
My girls Anna, Rachel and Sarah are a little upset daddy is going, but this seems to be offset with granny coming to stay for 10 days and my promise to bring them each back a present. Anna and Rachel have been making bracelets to give to the local children this afternoon on their last day of the holidays before they return to school.
We will be sure to have a great time on our journey, however we are primarily going to raise awareness of the desperate need of this country and its people and raise funds. The Malawian Government has declared a national emergency since floods and drought have left 6.5 million hungry.
EMMS International has launched an emergency appeal for the Malawi food crisis which is being match funded by the Scottish Government up to £20,000. All TriMalawi Challenge sponsorship which I raise will be matched by the Scottish Government.
Anyone wishing to can sponsor me at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/iangblack1. Thank you in advance and I’ll update you again from Malawi.