Then I saw a tail...
I opened my Facebook page and updated my status as any social media devotee would do: "THERE'S A LIZARD IN MY ROOM! WHAT DO I DO?!"
A few non-constructive 'likes' later, my communications co-worker, Chloe, kindly told me that geckos are friendly and they eat all the bugs. Breathing a short-lived sigh of relief, I started to panic when I thought about the gecko climbing over my face during the night.
I didn't want to kill the wee guy so I grabbed a plastic tub from the kitchen and a piece of card and carefully trapped him inside. I calmly walked over to the door and gently let him out into the world. I am beginning to get the hang of this. Malawi 2: 1 Jackie.
After my crazy gecko weekend I was glad to be back in the Mary's Meals office. Every few months, we receive a container from Scotland full of donated backpacks, containing basic education items such as pens and notebooks, which are sorted then distributed to children receiving Mary's Meals.
To get to the school in time for the distribution, we set off at 6.30am. Unlike in Scotland at this time of year, the sun is shining bright in the sky and it is lovely and warm outside, so waking up early isn't a problem. The head of fundraising for Mary's Meals, Daniel Adams, was visiting for a week and was as excited as me about the day ahead.
The backpack distribution is a secret operation for Mary's Meals which only our logistics team and senior staff members are allowed in on. The distribution is an added incentive to keep children in school and awards children who attend.
When we arrive at the school, the children are carrying books in worn-out carrier bags, some don't have shoes and others are lucky if the clothes they are wearing aren't ridden with holes.
Our distribution team explain about the backpacks to the headteacher but the children are unaware. And as soon as the truck carrying the backpacks appears, the children suddenly realise and go crazy; smiling, singing and jumping up and down. It's impossible not to smile as you see how happy the children are and I suddenly realise just how lucky I am.
Organising the children is madness as they are so excited. Daniel and I help count the children and untie the heavy, white sacks full of donated backpacks from across the UK. Then we begin handing them out, one by one, to more than 1000 extremely happy children.
Through the incredible support for Mary's Meals, these children are given hope, and it's an inspirational sight to see first hand... as the video below shows.
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