FRIENDS have been asking if I’m looking forward to my trip to Africa and I wax lyrical about how excited I am, but it hasn’t sunk in yet.

I think it will hit me when we touch down on the other side.

Today I have been armed with a tonne of information about what to do when we are there – what to wear, how to act, what to eat, what not to drink.

I settled in with my pile of papers and got clued up on my home for the next week.

I learned that Tanzania is “generally” a peaceful country. This worries me.

I learned that conmen and pickpockets are rife in the streets after dark and that I
must not wear visible jewellery.

I also learned that it is a predominantly Muslim country and that I must be careful to respect the local culture and behaviours.

Smother yourself in insect repellent or spend your trip in the hospital – only drink bottled water else spend your trip on the loo.

There is so much to remember. What on earth have I let myself in for?

I quickly put those thoughts aside because I’m hoping to learn a couple of life lessons on this trip.

We often see heart-rending images of African children on the television and, after thinking about them for a minute or two, go about our daily lives – drinking our clean water and claiming our free healthcare.

Helping these poor children is not just about donating a tenner to Comic Relief once a year.

It is a constant effort to support them and to see them right.

How can one country be so rich and one so poor?

Why aren’t we sharing the wealth?

And more importantly, what can we do to help?

These are the questions whirring around in my head as I packed my bag and bid
my family farewell.

I’m hoping this trip will open my eyes and give me the answers I am looking for.