I took a day trip to Reading today to visit the offices of "Lattitude", the charity whose China volunteers we train in Kunming every 6 months. Having e-mailed some of the staff for over a year, it was really nice to finally put names to faces. I received a very warm welcome and there seemed a great atmosphere amongst the young staff. It was also very useful to hear of Lattitude's wider work, having only really seen the China aspect. They are in 17 countries, as evidenced by the shelf of country-coded books, [see photo] with about 1000 volunteers at any given time. It puts the mere 20 or so in China into perspective.
Susie and Thom [see photo] are the two staff I know the best, and they kindly took me out to a lunch for a chat. Thom had also arranged a few meetings for me with various people in the organisation, from the CEO down, who wanted to pick my brains while I was there. It was actually quite "therapeutic" to be able to talk about China, my job and myself in some depth with people who were genuinely interested and informed. They were all extremely positive about the course we run in Kunming and are looking at ways to roll out similar courses in many of their other countries. It was very encouraging to hear that. So a fun and worthwhile trip out. Hopefully I won't feel too exhausted tomorrow, as the glandular fever does have a reputation for punishing you doing too much too soon!
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