Saturday, 7 October 2017

Day 9: The last one

Paddy’s last 24 hours as a Bailey – Homeward Bound


As I write this we are in Fisherman’s Rest and everyone is in good spirits - absolutely nothing to do with the beers that we had over lunch today. The highlight of today was the safari at Majete Wildlife Park. We got to see some really cool sights including Impala, Elephants, Hippos, Water Bucks, Guinea Fowl and perhaps most interestingly Paddy’s hair. 


At one point I couldn’t tell the difference between Paddy and Emily from the back of their heads. It transpired that Paddy hasn’t washed his locks all week but if that’s not worrying enough he’s also only worn 3 pairs of underwear since arriving in Malawi. I’m not sure if he’s been put off by Mark lunging around in various states of undress or if he’s planning on testing Cindy’s cleaning abilities on Saturday afternoon. It turns out that Cindy did have an intervention of sorts in Warwick a few weeks ago due to the limited number of underpants emerging from Paddy’s room but it turns out that he’s only got 3 pairs!!! He’s resorted to wearing Dan’s and at the time of writing it’s still unclear whether this is before or after Dan has worn them first. When we were in Heathrow last week I asked him whether he had a girlfriend in University, the answer was a no and things are starting to make perfect sense. When quizzed about whether he has a clean pair for travelling home in he looked to Dan inquiringly who gave him the universal expression for ‘sorry but you are screwed mate’.


This afternoon was a lovely treat post the safari with us going to the ‘Crococabana’ where they had more alcoholic beverages, a swimming pool and lovely food. Having spent the last 8 or 9 days brushing our teeth in a pit, squatting over a hole in the ground and sleeping at a snoring convention this was most welcome. Things were going really until Mark treated us all to a swim in his elasticated tighty whities. It also didn’t help that he kept hopping out of the pool to get the rugby ball and removing what little slack the budgie smugglers had from the crack of his rear end.


It was a surreal experience leaving the camp this morning and feels like the week absolutely flew. Whilst we didn’t get to finish the feeding centre build due to the funeral in the village we should be proud of what we achieved i.e. painting the secondary school, spending time in the feeding centres, training the teachers, laying bricks and most importantly introducing the kids to “Can I get a whoop whoop? What a legacy to leave…..


For those of you thinking ‘wow Jed smells good today’ then you would be correct. He smells of 7,940 odd types of mint. The reason for this is that he decided to lather himself from head to toe in my shower gel this morning. We all know what he was thinking “that shower gel really tingles – good that”. What Jed hadn’t anticipated was the water running out. Now he’s a resourceful sort of guy and immediately switched tack to using the bathroom tap to cleanse himself. The German ladies staying elsewhere in camp were treated to Jed cupping water on his nether regions as they walked past our window on their morning trek.


For those of us returning this year I think that Malawi is firmly in our hearts forever, I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything less than 100% safe here and the people’s attitude and kindness is deeply infectious. For those that joined this year Paddy, Jake and Nigel I hope that you feel the same way would like to return in the future to carry on the great work you did this year. It may be the poorest country on earth but it exceptionally wealthy in so many intangible ways. Until next time….



2017 Awards


The anti-Robin Hood Award

This goes to Jed who due to communication issues had to ask for his trowels back from Joseph after he mistakenly thought they had been gifted to him. As Paddy eloquently put it “he was literally robbing from poor people”. Jed did return them to the builders before we left.


The Paul Thomas Award for Getting Kicked in the Knackers

This award goes to Edith the nurse who left with her tail between her legs after Rob pulled her up on her length of service to the local community. 


The Ryan Bailey Award for Creating Entertainment from Nowt

And the winners are Rachel Aucott and Cindy for their work in the feeding centres with all of the children.


The Stilton Cheese Award

This goes to t’Northern lads Nigel and Mark. Ye are welcome to your straight bananas.


The Mark Forsyth Award for Ludicrous Underwear

This award goes to Mark Forsyth for obvious reasons. A notable mention to Dan whose new denim shorts are bordering on unacceptable.


The Dan Bailey Award for Being a Lothario in Malawi

Honest, this was an easy decision and goes to Jed for his fleeting romance with the schoolteacher. I can’t wait until he turns on his WhatsApp back in London. (Jackie you have absolutely nothing to worry about).


The Chuckle Brothers Award for Getting Stuck in on Site

The winner is Rachel B for mixing matope whilst the local builders watched her chuckling like she’d lost her marbles. 


The Jessica Harrison Award for Wanting Home Comforts 

The clear winner was Jake who was pining for his hairdryer for the quiff. A notable mention to Paddy and a hair straightener. I’m not sure he actually wanted one but he’s in dire need.


The William Award for Absolutely Stacking It

This goes to that Scottish lad that had a crossbar fall on his head.


Songs for the Squad

Birch Tree - Foals

Why’d You Only Call Me – Arctic Monkeys

What you Know – Two Door Cinema Club  

Help Me Lose My Mind (feat. London Grammar) – Disclosure 

This Charming Man – The Smiths

Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune


Friday, 6 October 2017

Day 8: On the way!

Hi all

The team are at the airport now and waiting for their flight home! 

We hope you enjoy all the stories and photos - it’s been a pleasure to work with Project Shire again!!!

Beth, Josh and all at Team Inspire

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Day 7: Safari!

Hi all,

The team are taking a well deserved break today and have been on safari to Majete Wildlife Reserve - where they saw hippos, elephants and a wealth of antelopes! 

Tomorrow they will be making their way back to the airport and the flight home. We will let you know when they are safely aboard and on their way!! 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Day 6: Can I get a whoop whoop

As I stumbled to the hole in the ground that we call our toilet in a sleepy haze this morning I met Cindy leaving my intended destination. There was a noticeable spring in her step and when I enquired how her form was on this fine morning I was taken aback with the enthusiastic response "Mornin' Brian" she chirped. "Oh I tell you what, Jane's idea for having those prunes is absolutely brilliant". Not the most ideal imagery to start my morning but my last image before going to bed last night was Jed crouched down hanging off through wall of the toilet whilst I brushed my teeth. For those inclined Cindy reckons that 10 is the magic number, 6 didn't cut it for her yesterday. 

Nigel and Mark have been largely in agreement about most things since arriving in Malawi, with the exception of Mark's choice in underwear - Nigel is more of a briefs man whereas Mark like to cut off all circulation below his waist. However, this morning there was a disagreement about whose snoring was keeping who awake - now I'm not going to get involved but what's that saying Mark? The customer is always right - even when he sounds like he's gutting a pig at 4 am.

Paddy's loyalty was tested today when he found himself stuck between a Cindy and a Ron. Paddy aligned himself to Cindy and was quickly reminded who pays the food bill in chez Bailey. At this rate he will be making his own way home from Heathrow, probably with half a bag of prunes and a flapjack. 

Today was our last day on site, building the feeding centre. The British Building regulations were once again mentioned and quickly discarded - to be fair there are Malawian builders rocking around with no shoes on so they must think our carry on is quite safe and sensible. 

A number of us spent time with the children in the feeding centre this morning and it as a stark reminder of why we are here. Dan, Nigel and I were measuring their height and weight to check for malnutrition and it was quite a humbling experience lifting them onto those scales. William was the only child that we had no worries for at the weigh - in. I want to just take this opportunity to thank Rachel and Cindy for all of theirs efforts in the feeding centre this week - your enthusiasm and caring attitude is superb. 

It was great to teach the kids the English words for the various fruits and colours. Nigel also seemed to get a lot out of that session and now knows the difference between red and orange.

It's crazy to think that we had our leaving ceremony from the village this evening. They treated us to tribal dancing and drums, and kids from the local school also singing and dancing. As is customary we were asked to perform a number of our own. Paddy has been banging on all day that we should sing "Don't stop believing" by Journey and a number of the returning crew wanted to re-launch our Malawi song from last year. However, we didn't hand a 6 ft 4 inch Northener to bang an empty paint drum as our front man this time round. Rachel A dug us out with a stirring rendition of "everywhere we go". It's just a shame Jake didn't have access to a hairdryer as the kids could have become Beliebers.

'Project Sherry' is leaving camp tomorrow morning very early so I hope you all enjoy the final nights festivities. Good night all.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Day 5: Not enough morons in camp this year

Turns out that Paddy has a diploma in brick laying. I think I speak for everyone when I say Jesus Christ! What's even more troubling is the fact that he said he turned up to every class - based on the wall he constructed yesterday I'm guessing that the teachers attendance record and qualifications left a lot to be desired although the builders are now I sideburns that he's in charge of the level.

As I write this we are having an educational talk from a local nurse about how to wash your hands properly. Things have just gotten really interesting with Rob interrogating the poor woman about her age. I hope that by the time I'm 70 odd that I get a little bit of leeway when I'm confused about my sums. 

Spirits were high last night after an amazing chilli and chips dinner that Cindy cooked which was followed up by a few more mash ups. Paddy and I once again teamed up but this time smashed it out of the park. I don't know why I was wasting my time with Aucott all this time. 

Most of the camp slept soundly but I heard Nigel suggesting that our chickens might be replacing the goat in tomorrow night's feast if they're not quiet tonight.
Based on that logic Jake's also in trouble if he doesn't control his snoring. 

More progress was made today on the building site today, a number of us also attended the feeding centre and danced, sang and played games with the children. Other members of group taught the teachers how to use the KEEPOD devices that are a wealth of educational information including Biology, Mathematics, Health and Safety, Cleanliness and Maps of the world. However, when I checked in when Rachel B her group were reading up on how to 'create perfect eyebrows'.

As if Nigel hasn't had enough to contend with this week including the shower situation, the toilets, kidney beans, rice and cabbage for his lunch everyday Rachel decided to set him an additional challenge of finding freshly ground coffee - whilst on a building site in the middle of nowhere, with a team of Malawian builders that barely have a word of English, and no money. Unsurprisingly, Nigel had the same result as Jed did last night when trying to fix my water bottle. He may have been able to create a drum kit for Ryan from empty coffee cans and gaffer tape bit came unstuck finally in Chilaweni. 

Today also marked the day that I heard the most legitimate reason for Brexit thus far. Ruthie was adamant that we trade a prosperous future for a good Stilton cheese. Mark nearly pulled a muscle he was nodding his head so furiously in agreement. 
A lovely meal again tonight, goodnight all. Song for P: Macabees - feel to file (if Jane ever reads this!!!!!!)

Monday, 2 October 2017

Day 4: Who is on the bloody string

Rob treated everyone to a quiz last night, and by treated, I mean tormented. The Dingbats, Music Mash ups and general knowledge went down a storm with most people. Luckily for Paddy there were two questions simply asking for the titles of movies that he's seen in the last 6 months. Paddy's legend continues to grow although he is sometimes considered the 'Rogue One' in camp. My issues with sleeping continue to impact my D:Ream-ing although that may also have something to do with my 'Elbow' being sore after the crossbar incident yesterday. Okay I'll stop now before I attempt to cram Brian Cox in. 'Things can only get better' from here on out. 

This morning got off to a good start with some proper coffee arriving in camp - Jed was delighted with the caffeine hit and almost giddy about some of the side effects. I think its purely coincidental that another toilet was deemed out of order shortly after everyone got their fix.

Interlude: as I write this blog Mark was asleep on his bed in a pair of tighty whities - I'm not entirely sure whether he knows that the mosquito net covering his bed is 99% see through leaving me 100% horrified. 

We started building a feeding centre today and everyone was keen to get stuck in - Jed was almost foaming at the mouth and up since 5 am (that's 5 in the morning Paddy).

The appearance of Hendricks the foreman on site was also entertaining as he used the 'I've go to go into town and do some jobs" which is practised by every foreman in the UK and Ireland. Even in Malawi his exit was accompanied by his workers sniggering and laughing at the cock and Bull story.

When things for underway Jed quickly assumed he role of Head Honcho and wasn't shy critiquing Dan and my efforts. His rosy complexion was also particularly enjoyable for Jake who took great pleasure in his darkening colour throughout the day. Cindy was appointed Jed's Gobo b*$ch - by her own husband I hasten to add - after lunch and we made great progress in the blistering heat.

Rachel Blackamore probably needs an intervention as she turns everything into a competition and tried to create a siege mentality in her group by slagging off the other groups efforts at building a wall. Rachel - just a timely reminder that This. Is. For. Charity! We are all a team. I'm sure Jane Howard has better things to do than read my tripe but if you are reading this; Rachel has been a walking, competing billboard for Natwest in Malawi. 

Nigel was also keen to get moving today and was continuously chasing Rob to keep up until it came to light that Nigel was covering a 3 brick space along the wall, and was hastily put in his box by those covering 10 bricks. Everyone is weary after today's efforts and is currently awaiting Cindy's curry and chips, and Mark putting some trousers on. Both will be of great relief to everyone - especially those of us that still have the shorts emblazoned on our brains. 

Tomorrow will be another action packed day with building, visiting the feeding centre, and basic computer training for the teachers in the local school and Cindy. Well done today everybody and more of the same tomorrow, Good night.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Day 3- Holes on a hot tin roof

In scenes reminiscent of Kevin Keegan losing his marbles live on television during the biggest choke on footballing history, Rachel Aucott managed to turn an unassailable lead in Up and Down into a 4th place finish in the space of 4 hands. Rumour has it she was assisted by some Scottish fella... Those bloody Scots! 

The people of Malawi are making good progress in terms of education if the two villages we have worked with are anything to go by. However, and this is a big however - that Island across the Irish sea is not Scotland. If they only knew the lengths I went to last year to have an Irish flag put on the feeding centre mural - and even then I was limited to about 8 x 6 cm.

This morning we walked to the church and were treated to an amazing welcome for the ceremony. The building itself is in a serious state of disrepair and I could almost hear the cogs in Jed's head spinning as he mentally worked his way through the checklist... gaffer tape for the roof, gaffer tape for the holes in the wall... Good gaffer tape that. 

Unfortunately, for the assembled crowd they requested a couple of songs from the interlopers. Not for the first time Rachel B dug us out with the "whole world in his hands" and some "hallelujah" number that only she knew the words to. Thank god no one was relying on me as 'chick chick chick chick chicken' and the 'wheels on the bus' just weren't going to cut it. Even though they don't speak English I'm pretty sure they could tell that Paddy and Dan were add libbing as they wrestled each other to stand at the back. Rachel A wasn't much better and I'm sure was mumbling something along the lines of 'I would love it, love it if we beat them.'

There was a football game as part of the sports day which Paddy has described on the flyer as starting at 15.30 pm, I'm hoping he hasn't confused people too much and they turn up this afternoon. Nigel also learned the hard way that being nutmegged in Malawi is as embarrassing as it is in the UK. Especially when done by a five year old. For those of you at home and only following the blog for updates on Mark's short game and I know his daughter will be, he's behaving himself thus far but it is only Sunday. 

Alice came to visit us this afternoon and as an immediate hit.

Interruption - for an update - Mark has just been rocking around in ONLY his shorts! !! So somewhat negating all of his positive work, daughters when he gets 'ome have a word.

Anyway back to Alice who came equipped with delicious chocolate brownies. I'm not sure whether Paddy enjoyed the brownie more or the fact that Dan couldn't have any. Alice is an absolute inspirational figure who has lived in Africa for the last twenty years and being Irish also earned her additional brownie points - do you see what I did there? 

When Alice left we had the aforementioned sports day. It was hear and passed without any incidents. Emily asked me earlier how today's blog entry was coming along, I said something along the lines of I wonder will something interesting happen at the sports day. Well if you count the crossbar of the goal falling on my neck as interesting then it's a box ticked. Jake sticking those pins in the karma doll after I've been slagging his Harry Styles quiff has paid dividends in record time.
** update: Brian is absolutely fine and has been checked out by the Inspire Leader!

Cindy organised a great game for the 400 odd kids that turned up if only he'd got the flyer right, and reminded her son that no matter how big he is she'll put him in his box whenever required.another successful day in Chilaweni - goodnight all.