Karen Lavender. Hi, I’m Karen and am married to John. We have 3 daughters, Rebekah (20), Abbie (17) and Krista (12). Rebekah and Abbie have both had the opportunity to have visited Africa on previous trips which they thoroughly enjoyed. As I have become more involved with the Meserani Project over the years, the urge to go myself has become greater as I am aware about the positive impact it is having on people’s lives and am pleased I am getting the chance to meet those families who are benefitting and to share their experiences. I am also going to be sponsoring a pupil soon and as well as meeting a lot of children and families when I visit, I would very much like to meet the pupil I will be sponsoring, hopefully.
Adam Drinkel. I work in the chemical industry as a draughtsman. I also do eclological surveying during the summer months, for an ecology company. I have worked in wildlife conservation for a number of years now. I am also a keen birdwatcher, wildlife lover and photographer, so going to africa will be a perfect opportunity for me to expand my environmental knowledge. I first heard about the Meserani Project from my girlfriend Sarah (who is also going on the trip). She has told me what an experience she had when she went whilst studying at Acklam Grange School – when the opportunity arose, we both jumped at the chance to go! I hope that whilst out there we will get to see all the excellent work that the Meserani Project has done, as well as seeing lots of Africa, and the african wildlife.
Sarah Dodgson. Hi, I’m Sarah, a Geography teacher at The King’s Academy. I also work for an ecology company, during the summer, doing wildlife surveys. In my spare time, I learn and teach Irish Dance. I am an ex-pupil of Acklam Grange School and visited Africa on the 2007 trip. It was the most wonderful, yet eye-opening experience. I made a promise to myself that one day I would return, though this time I get to share it with my boyfriend Adam. People say this kind of trip is a once in a lifetime experience but once you have had the opportunity to love Africa, once just isn’t enough. I am looking forward to seeing all of the wonderful wildlife, and visiting schools; especially from the point of view of a teacher this time. Though, most of all I am going back to meet the lovely people of Africa again, to see the progress that has taken place since I was last there, and see the difference the amazing work of the Meserani Project is making to the lives of the people of East Africa.
Elizabeth Alderton. I lived in Zimbabwe in the 70’s and am really excited about returning to Africa. I have worked in social care and have recently completed a degree in Fine Art. I am so looking forward to helping in any way that I can. I know I will play such a little part in what has become a wonderful project but every little helps as they say.
Peter Swan. I retired from full time teaching in 2012, which has allowed me to spend more time working on The Meserani Project. Taking a group of adults to East Africa seems like a natural progression from taking groups of school pupils there, but I am sure the challenges will be just as interesting – we’ll wait and see! This will be my 21st. visit to Africa, and every one has been unique, challenging, memorable, and extremely rewarding – I am sure this visit will be just the same. To those taking part – enter into this ‘adventure’ with an open mind, and who knows what will happen – one thing is sure, you won’t come back the same person.
Claire Lancefield. I attended Acklam Grange School between 2001 and 2006, and was selected as Head Girl in my final year. I first went to East Africa on the 2007 trip which founded the Meserani Project. I loved the experience so much that I revisited Tanzania on my gap year. My project involved living in Arusha and teaching English in a primary school. I then studied law at the University of Sheffield for four years and I am currently living in Nottingham working as a trainee solicitor. When I heard that Peter was running another trip to East Africa I jumped at the chance to go back. It will be great to revisit Arusha and other familiar places and I am looking forward to seeing how the Meserani Project has impacted the schools and pupils it helps. It will also be great to explore other ways to help the community.
Laliesha Ali. Hello, I’m Laliesaha. I study journalism in Salford. I am also a former Head Girl at Acklam Grange School and was fortunate enough to visit Africa with the 2011 Trip. The experiences I had during this time shaped who I became and the aspirations I had. I hope to work as a war reporter or a communications director for NGOs. I am a firm believer that the little voices can make a big difference.
Gemma Foster. This will be my third visit to East Africa, and I am very excited to be returning, (the previous two visits were both Acklam Grange School Trips). I am most looking forward to visiting the schools that have been supported by the Meserani Project. I have recently become a Teaching Assistant in a Teesside primary school, and my motivation in wanting to work in education came from my two previous visits to Africa.
Karen Mitchell. Hi. I’m Karen Mitchell. I’m married to John and we have a daughter called Elizabeth; she is also on the 2014 trip with me. I have recently retired from work as a Nurse/University lecturer teaching health care staff. I love to play tennis and do so several days a week now I’m retired. I’m really looking forward to the trip. I can’t wait to see the wild life and also to visit the schools and clinics, and I’m particularly looking forward to meeting the young man we sponsor.
Elizabeth Mitchell. Hello. I’m Elizabeth Mitchell. I’m 24 years old, I teach English in a secondary school. My hobbies include roller derby and improv comedy. I play roller derby for Middlesbrough Milk Rollers, our team is currently 10th in the European league. I was last in Africa when I was a pupil at Acklam Grange School. I’m really looking forward to going again to see how the project has progressed since I visited seven years ago.
Jonathan Lee. My name is Jonathan Lee and I work as an Online Marketing Coordinator for a company in Newton Aycliffe. In my spare time I enjoy following football, and writing for my blog flaminghairdryer.com I have never been to Africa before and look forward to seeing the great work the Meserani Project continues to do. Many of my family have had great times over in Africa and I can’t wait to experience the adventure for myself along with my brother Andrew who is also coming on the trip for the first time.
Andrew Lee. My name is Andy Lee (Jonathans brother), I am a 25 year old architecture student studying at Northumbria University. I enjoy running, football, drawing etc. This is my first trip to Africa and I am looking forward seeing the work of the Meserani Project in person.
Diane Swan. Since retiring in 2007, Africa has been a big part of my life – the wildlife and the people. Writing and publishing the wildlife guide has been hard work, but great fun, and the experiences I had whilst researching for the book on location in East Africa have provided many unforgettable memories. The Meserani Project has allowed me to give something back to the people of Tanzania – they need our support, they deserve it, and they put it to good use. I have met many inspirational people in Africa, and I am looking forward to introducing some of them to the group. One life – love it – live it!
Sarah Naylor. Jambo, my name is Sarah and I am currently completing my PGCE at Sheffield Hallam University – only 9 teaching weeks to go until I become a qualified PE teacher. I am really looking forward to the 2014 trip, this will be my third trip to East Africa. I was fortunate enough to visit Africa in 2007 and 2009 with Acklam Grange School and both times offered a different experience, so I can’t wait to see what the 2014 trip has to offer.
Richard Asquith. I’m Richard and currently live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. I work at Nidd Hall Hotel and also work at a local primary school as a volunteer. Next year I plan to do my teacher training and become a full time teacher. My hobbies are hiking, triathlons, running, swimming, salsa dancing and theatre. I’m inspired by The Meserani Project after my partner Julie told me about it and took me along to one of the events to watch a DVD on the pupils from Acklam Grange. I’m very excited and looking forward to the trip in August 2014!
Julie Hatton. It has always saddened me that some countries have to endure such poverty. And I feel proud that we can help in some small way by sponsoring, raising awareness and visiting these countries.I have read many stories over the years regarding Africa and have hoped that one day I would be in a position to help.When I watched your video staring Laliesha Ali! it made me laugh and cry. At last I found the project that I could help.Firstly by sponsoring Richard. What am I hoping to get from the trip – I feel it will be an experience of a life time. It will certainly open my eyes to another part of the world. I’m looking forward to the warmth of the people and i’m hoping that I can leave some of mine with them. And the bonus is going on a safari that has also been a dream of mine to.
Natalie Hulse. My name is Natalie, I am 36 years old and this will be my first trip to Africa! I am looking forward to learning more about the history of East Africa as well as experiencing the beauty of the people, wild life and the landscape. For me, this is going to be a trip of a lifetime which I will forever remember: however, I am also expecting this trip to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life… I am looking forward to meeting you!
Michael Lee. Hi, I’m Michael – Jonathan and Andrew’s younger brother. I’ve just graduated from Sheffield University and the last minute opportunity of a trip to Africa was fantastic. I have been lucky enough to visit before with Diane, Peter and my parents in 2009 and it will be great to see how the sponsored schools and pupils have progressed since my last visit. I sponsor a young lad called Edward, who is now off to start his first year at high school and though I may not get the opportunity to meet him it will be great to visit his family and get a better understanding of his background. Looking through the itinerary it seems Diane and Peter have organised another wonderful trip with loads to see and do and so much to look forward to.
Laura Whaley. Hi my name is Laura and I am currently Head of PE at a school in Saltburn. Previously I taught at Acklam Grange School and I was lucky enough to be asked to be a member of staff on the 2009 Africa trip. Those 3 weeks in Africa have so far been one of the best experiences of my life. I cannot wait to go back again. I made friends for life on that trip and look forward to experiencing it again with them and everyone else on the trip. Africa really is one special place and the feeling of being out there is too difficult to describe; as the well known Meserani Project song says ‘I can only Imagine.’ You really can only imagine what it would be like until you are lucky enough to experience the real joys of Africa!
Ruth Delany. Hello! I’m a marketing executive originally from Middlesbrough but now living in Surrey. I have the honour of being a trustee for the Meserani Project and I’m very proud to be part of such a fantastic charity. I have been lucky enough to visit Africa twice now as part of Peter’s school trips and I can’t wait to go back again this year. It’s hard to put into words what an incredible experience visiting Africa is. It really opened my eyes to how much corruption there is over there but also how much appreciation the people have for the little things in life that we take for granted. Spending time over there and interacting with the local people is an experience I will cherish forever. Bring on Africa 2014!
Julie & David Delany. Jambo! We are Julie and David Delany and we will be travelling with our daughter Ruth. It is Ruth’s passion for the Meserani project that has inspired us to sponser pupils and hopefully we will meet them and maybe their families during this visit – that would be the highlight for us! Also Ruth will have her 23rd birthday while we are there. The trip is a unique opportunity for us to share this with her in Africa, where she has had such wonderful experiences. Julie : I am a school counsellor currently working at Acklam Grange School for two days a week and at another local school for two days. David : I am an architect working for a practice in Stokesley and designing mainly residential projects. We are both looking forward to sharing a wonderful experience with the Meserani Project.
Stuart Fallowfield. Hi, I’m Stuart, and I work for the NHS locally. I am very excited about my first trip to Kenya and Tanzania with my wife, Debra, brother and sister-in-law Graeme and Bev. I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to travel to Africa on a trip led by our good friends Peter and Diane Swan. I know that it will be a trip of a lifetime and it will be great to see first hand the fantastic work that they have been doing and meet the children whose lives have been changed by their charity. I know that there will be lots of new experiences and I am looking forward to seeing the wildlife up close-but hopefully not too close!
Debra Fallowfield. Hi, I’m Debra. Married to Stuart, we have two children, Sean 27, and Sarah 24. Really looking forward to our trip to Africa. Can’t wait to go on Safari, I am hoping to see lots of elephants close up as they are my favourite animals. Also looking forward to visiting the schools, to see for myself the amazing work that Peter and Diane have been doing, and also to meet Anna, who we are sponsoring. I am sure I will be left with lots of wonderful memories and hopefully some great photographs.
Graeme Fallowfield. Hi I’m Graeme. I work at Hartlepool College of FE, as a joinery lecturer in the Construction Department. One of my hobbies is playing the cornet in the Cleveland Police Band. Interested in visiting the schools and doing some work during my holiday.
Bev. Fallowfield. Hi, I’m Bev. I am married to Graeme and work as an Administrator at Hartlepool College of FE. Born in Bulawayo Zimbabwe, I moved to South Africa in 1980 before moving to Hartlepool in 1996. I love African wildlife, especially elephant and giraffe, so really looking forward to the Game drives. It is going to be interesting to meet the Children and seeing first-hand the work Peter and Diane are doing.
Julie Cook. My name is Julie. My hobbies are playing hockey, going to the cinema and reading, I also have a love for travelling. I am really excited about my trip to East Africa in the summer, I can’t really say what I’m looking forward to the most – it all looks and sounds amazing.