This was my forth expedition with the charity and one of the best as I had my partner Chris supporting me. It was great to get to go through an amazing experience together along with the rest of the team. My hopes for the mission were to complete all the projects set out for us and that as a group we all get on as well as respecting and supporting each other throughout the mission and that the community would embrace us.
I wouldn’t say I have any fears but my concerns were the likelihood that I would have an epileptic seizure as I have had them on the previous four trips and although I had every trust in Chris and the medic to manage it if I had a seizure if I had one. My concern was how Chris would deal with me having a fit as I hadn’t had one in front of him before.
My hopes were achieved as the projects that were set out for us were completed. The projects were replacing 11-12 windows which entailed us removing the broken existing windows taking old paint and putty off the existing window frames then re-puttying frames so we could put glass panes in then putty them to seal the windows at the village school. Project two was completing two murals on the school walls. The third project was creating a community garden in the village we completed all projects which everyone appreciated. We also each taught a lesson on various different subjects.
My fears were overcome despite having seven seizures two due to an infection and five due to overheating which Chris and the team dealt with well especially where Chris delt with the last two by himself very well and I was very proud of him as he stayed calm and reassured me the whole time which kept me calm.
My personal achievements of the trip were me and Chris working as a team to teach the class an enjoyable and interactive session which they all enjoyed especially making the paper aeroplanes it was great seeing the enjoyment on the children’s as they threw and chased the paper planes. Another achievement as crazy and unladylike as it sounds was going to the loo in the bush for the first time ever on any trip which is quite a challenge for me given its all about using the correct technique and co-ordinating body movements and the correct position as well as location. Another personal achievement for me was helping to take off putty and old paint from the window frames and re-putty ready for the glass to go in.
My most memorable moments of the trip were seeing the tribal dancing,seeing how they make their jewellery which was all very impressive and takes amazing learned skills passed down from mother to daughter as well as learning how they make their weapons/hunting tools. I also found the hunting trip to be very informative and enjoyable experience getting to learn about what tracks different animals make as well as roughly when they were there and if they had any babies with them. My two favourite moments were the safari trip where we saw a variety of animals up close but the elephants were definitely my favourite especially seeing the herd less than 50 metres from the vehicle we were in. My second favourite moment was visiting the animal sanctuary hearing their stories seeing all the animals that have been rescued and getting pictures of them all as well as being able to get close to some of them such as ducks,a rescued warthog called Ham and a family of mearcat’s cuddled up together in the sun which I will past a picture of. As well as seeing our Silverlining group overcoming their various challenges with the support of each other.
This years trip was incredible I’m so glad I went and the support from the team (Kaurimbi expeditions) out there was amazing especially the cook as the food was delicious and the medic as he was run off his feet by all of us I myself kept him very busy. The whole team worked really well together both the staff from Namibia and the Silverliner’s- as a whole. We both loved it and I would recommend this to everyone. We also hope to go on the 2020 mission if it’s to Namibia again.
I found out about the Silverlining Charity and the Namibia expedition through my Fiancee Hannah who is a member of the charity as she sustained an acquired brain injury shortly after birth. I joined the charity last summer.
My hopes for the mission were to help make the mission a success and encourage and help the group to improve their knowledge and skills as well as helping to bring people out of their shells as well as pushing them out of their comfort zones particularly Hannah as she wasn’t confident when it came to preparing and fitting the new windows. As well as helping other members of the group where I could. My fears for the expedition were that Hannah may have a seizure which I hadn’t witnessed before. My other fear was how my family would cope with not being able to contact me for two weeks as we were in the middle of the Namibian bush.
My hopes were achieved as we completed all projects set out by painting two murals,teaching eleven lessons,replacing twelve windows and providing resources to the school as well as helping to create a community vegetable garden. My fears were overcome as although Hannah had several seizures during the trip I was fortunate that the medic and another buddy helped during some of them. During the first seizure they where particularly helpful as whilst the medic looked after Hannah the other buddy could then explain the signs to look for and what to do when Hannah is having a seizure. My family did find it difficult not being able to speak to me but I was fortunate to be able to borrow a satellite phone on my mum’s birthday which surprised her and put their minds to rest.
My personal achievements of the trip were getting to learn archery from the bushman which I really enjoyed as this is something I have wanted to do for a while. Another one of my highlights was going hunting with the bushmen from the village we were helping they taught us how to track a variety of animals,pointed out a variety of track marks and informed us of how long it was since that animal was there,weather they had a baby with them as well as the time of day they were there which I found very informative as I love to learn and would recommend anyone doing it if they have the opportunity.
My most memorable moments from the trip are going on the safari to see all the wildlife Namibia has to offer. My favourite animal we got to see was the heard of elephants who were very close to our vehicle so it was great for pictures they had baby elephants with them who were very cute. As well as experiencing Africa for the first time which was incredible!!!!!!
The expedition was one of my most rewarding experiences so far. Seeing everyone’s transformations from before the trip to after it. The person for me who overcome the most barriers and came out of their shell was a male London Silverliner (ABI survivor) who was on his first expedition.
I got a kitten at the end of October in the beginning I was nervous and worried about how to look after, train (eg. how to use litter tray), keeping an eye on her (moon) whilst doing other jobs around the house such as preparing and making meals whilst making sure moon isn’t putting herself in danger eg. Being to close to the hob/stove when cooking as I can struggle with multi tasking due to the side effects of my acquired brain injury.
I have been working to overcome these challenges with support from my partner who has had animals all his life as well as my sister and cousins who have cats of their own. We are still working on training her not to climb curtains,scratching or biting if done purposely we have found spraying her with water is very effective to let her know what she did isn’t allowed.
I have found having a cat to be very rewarding and provides me with company when I am home by myself getting to play with her is fun her favorite things to play with are hair ties and pipe cleaners, cleaning up after her is another important job as she sometimes spills over litter which needs brushing to tidy up surrounding area and taking any poos out of tray throughout the day with kitchen roll and put in the bin and we empty litter once a day. Cats are very hygienic/clean animals and I would recommend getting a cat to anyone as moon gives so much back to us such as cheering me up when I feel down or I am upset about something or someone. I have found it is also helping me to become more patient, understanding and always follow through with punishment if not behaving which is an area I need to work on as I want to have children in the near future and patience,understanding and follow through if child being naughty will be key.
We tried various techniques for training moon these were blowing in face,taking her off or away from what she shouldn’t be doing as well as telling her off and using a spray bottle of water which cats hate,we are finding the water bottle the most effective training method for us. Another important thing to do is try to get into a routine of times you will feed your cat from the beginning.
I found out about The Silverlinig Charity through my work as a Psychotherapist. A lot of my referrals for brain injury came from brain injury services and I learnt a lot about the trip through them. On this mission I am part of the organizing group prior to the trip and on the trip as a floating support role where needed.
My hopes for the trip were that it would be a success for everyone where we all faced and met the challenges of such an adventure. This being a successful and cohesive group where we learned to tolerate differences and embrace the knowledge we gain from that. My fears for this trip were that people would be unable to meet the challenges for one reason or another and therefore not able to experience the ongoing benefits of the trip.
My hopes for the trip were achieved as it was a success for everyone for everyone and we were able to manage the challenges that were put in our way by forming a strong and tight group. This trip was tough in many ways from my previous trip; as it was hotter,dryer, the terrain was different,there were more difficulties with health issues and some of us were more hungry. However the group did exactly what I’d hoped and came together as as a force where we all took take of each other and made it ok for those of us who were struggling at different times with different problems. My fears were overcome for the same reasons stated above. I feared becoming ill or someone else becoming ill and not being able to cope. I did become ill at one point as did many others, but I felt so well supported and looked after that it wasn’t difficult for me to bounce back and get back into action again. The strength and flexibility of the group enabled that by being so accepting of everyone’s limitations. Which of course changed from day to day.
My personal achievements of the trip were to survive! One of my very personal achievements was that I could survive being quite unwell so far away from from home and not getting to anxious about it. Another personal achievement for me was to continue to learn and adapt to my own and others needs in very extreme conditions. To survive those conditions and come out feeling exhausted but exhilarated is a testament to how successful being part of the group process can be. “No man is an island” etc.
I had many memorable moments it is hard to identify one as there were so many here is a list. Turning the tap on for water at the school,seeing the San village for the first time,going hunting and seeing them for the first time,the villagers dancing around the camp fire and being poorly in the bush was fairly memorable! Being taught how to use a bow and arrow,singing out of tune in the tallent show,lots of private conversations,learning things about people that we might otherwise never do.
It was extraordinary and tough at times with the heat and people being unwell with flu,bites,epilepsy,stomach upsets,exhaustion and for some being hungry! However the sights,sounds and achievements far outweigh the difficulties we all overcame. To have been able to be part of all that and leave something of ourselves and the Silverlinig ethos behind is something that will stay with me forever. As one of our group said “we all come to Namibia as friends and have come back as family.” Doesn’t get any better than that.
I found out about the Silverlinig charity through Kuarimbi Expeditions who were looking for a medic who is a specialist in extreme sports for their second Namibia mission I have completed every trip since with them.
This is my fourth mission with them. My fears for this mission were the remoteness of the mission and the challenges for definitive care. My hopes for the mission were that it was challenging enough to overcome personal challenges.
My hopes have been realized as the charity had done an excellent risk assessment of all ABI survivors going on the trip with fantastic buddy support.
My personal achievements are being part of the team and see how the team dynamics changed after each incident we had. Observing natural leaderships being honored and excepted.
My most memorable moment is how quickly norming and performing was achieved.
Everyone had a good level of personal growth and got to go home safe and well.
I was looking for a volunteer position and Silverlining needed someone to do the minutes of the Surrey group and for the board meetings as well as helping with their fundraising I started working for the charity in April 2018. I decided to come on the trip because I liked the idea of visiting Namibia and at the same time raising vital funds and supporting people who have experienced a brain injury.
My hopes for the expedition were that we are able to help at the local school in the remote area of Namibia where we are based and that we had a safe and happy time. My fears were that I wouldn’t get enough sleep as we were camping and that we wouldn’t get enough food (so I had a large bag of sweets in my holdall.)
My fears were overcome as I slept pretty well in my tent and there was plenty of food! My hopes were achieved as we completed 9 lessons,replaced 12 windows,painted two murals on the school wall, run a water pipeline into the school and we also created a community garden in the village all of these projects were very rewarding,and I did my bit as part of the team to enable the Silverliners to achieve a successful mission.
My personal achievements of the mission are that I survived Namibia without any illness! Helping with providing fresh clean water to the school,fixing the windows and teaching the children lessons hopefully broadening their knowledge.
My most memorable moment was seeing the wildlife including a lone ostrich,a beautiful oryx and a heard of elephants drinking at a watering hole. I identified ten different and new to me species of birds in the early mornings. Being treated to the San tribes people showing us their dances and craft skills and interacting with them despite having no language in common. I also saw a meteorite with its firery trail flash across the sky and the ISS-both early morning treats in the amazing African sky.
It was an amazing trip to meet a community of the previously nomadic San tribe in a very remote North-eastern part of Namibia, working with the children at the village school was very rewarding. It was also successful in as much as everyone in the Silverlinig group survived the daily 40-50+ degree heat and vicious bees.
I found out about Silverlining through Kathrine who is a trustee of the charity whitest working with her for the last seven years as well as assisting with some of the charities events and have found them very rewarding. I found out about the Namibia expedition through Kathrine after the Namibia 2014 trip. Through Kathrine’s stories of the 2014 expedition i felt so inspired that I decided I would apply for the Namibia 2016 mission as a volunteer buddy as I wanted to be a part of the adventure. I loved the experience of the 2016 mission that I applied for the Namibia 2018 trip as a buddy to one of the Birmingham silverliners.
My hopes were to have an incredible experience,to support and encourage others to overcome their challenges I also wanted to bring and provide help to the local community we are working with. I did not have any major fears apart from small things but overall I was convinced it was going to be a great experience.
My hopes and expectations were really surpassed. I never thought that the group would become as close as it did. I also learnt a lot from this trip. It had its challenges but I wouldn’t change a thing.
My personal achievements will probably relate to the capacity to help others,to be part of the team,to keep going despite the difficulties and to enjoy every moment.
I have to say I will never forget driving at the back of the 4×4,enjoying and catching the magic of Namibia.
It’s the adventure and the challenge that brings us together and will never forget.
Keep it quiet;
Go to an area with the lowest level of background noise possible,in group situations have the fewest amount of people possible in a group situation,ask people to take it in turns talking. Close the door if possible in a busy area eg.office.
Background music on low;
Use the background music on low using headphones to reduce,blockout intermittent noise,people on the telephone or office conversations etc.
Ear plugs/ noise counceling headphones;
Ear plugs or ear protectors can be brought in a hardware store or online. You can use them to block out any distracting noise. You can buy good quality headsets or noise counceling headphones they can be extremely beneficial at reducing or blocking out noise without music playing. People may interrupt you less if you have headphones on/in.
Use a filter;
After an acquired brain injury some people develop tinnitus. You can get ear filters/hearing aids themselves are provided by audiologists. The type you will require will depend on your hearing test results to see what discrimination (the ability to hear the spoken words in the mist of background noise) “by filling out some of the background noise you can hear better even though you are hearing less.”
Eliminate clutter in your work space as clutter is very distracting for me mind as well as making it harder to find documents etc.set up your work space to minimise distractions these distractions include windows,the fridge,busy walkways at home or at the office. Face your desk to the wall instead of a window or hallway.
Redirecting your focus:
Practice redirecting your focus to get back on task if you find your mind wondering through practice it can be improved. Talking to your self saying “stay focused ” this will help in many everyday situations.
Put a do not disturb sign on your door let your colleagues,friends and family know what the sign means.
If your working on the internet and you are signed up for instant messaging or voice over internet services,put a sign that you are unavailable or pick the invisible option.
Over stimulating environments:
Avoid overstimulating environments if you struggle with filtering issues an inability to filter out exstrenuous auditory or visual stimulus the best way to avoid this don’t go to over stimulating environments consider having dinner in a small quiet Resturant rather than a large noisey one.if your friends are planning to go to a bar/pub which is busy invite your friends to come to yours for drinks instead.
We all have a hard time paying attention when we are tired,hungry or need to go to the bathroom even without a brain injury.
Set a clear goal or objective:
Set a clear goal in your mind for what you are doing,preferably written down on a schedule or paper on plain view as a memory jogger as this will help you return to your task after being distracted.
Write it down:
If you are asked to do something or think of something you need to do/remember either write it on apiece of paper or set reminders in your phone. With any distraction you may not remember the information later if you don’t have it written down.
When reading information you need to retain use a highlighter to help keep your focus and attention it will also help you keep track of where you got up to if you get distracted or go for a break.
When speaking from your notes use your finger to track where you are on the page and so if you are interrupted with a question you can carry on where you left off. medication may be another alternative.
- Turn on the answering machine
- Don’t answer your phone when trying to get work done.
Some information in this blog is taken from the book: The Brain Injury Survival Kit [Paperback]  1 Ed. Dr. Cheryle Sullivan MD
I found out about The Silverlining Charity by taking over a company called Kaurimbi Expeditions Every two years we help The Silverlining Charity arrange challenging experiences for all of the Silverliners on the Namibia mission both brain injured and those in support roles doing a variety of projects.
My hopes were that everyone on the expedition to be able to experience great adventure and achieve the goals of the charities mission. I had no fears before the mission.
beforehand the kaurimbi team visited certain areas of Namibia to find a suitable location for projects to be carried out this was then extensively planned with the charity to ensure smooth running. Then the fears that were in the back of my mind were quickly overcome after discussions with the charity.
On this particular trip I enjoyed getting involved more on the medical side and would like to improve my skills and knowledge within this Field.
I am a lucky man that I have a job that is my sole passion so every moment was spectacularly amazing.
“Come as a client and leave as friends but I already know half of them.”
Kaurimbi Expeditions Tour and Safari operator:
Facebook: Kaurimbi Expeditions
-Plan your weekly menu in advance
-Write a list of all items you need for your week
-Pick the day that suits you best for shopping and time that suits you best
-Make up or buy standard shopping lists that include items that you need on a regular basis this can be adjusted to what you need that week.
-Do a check of all cupboards,fridge/freezer etc. To see what other items or products you need to restock and how much of each you need.
-If fatigue or over stimulation is something you struggle with I would recommend getting one or two days worth of any items you need for those days at a time and shop more frequently
-Get someone else to do the shopping on your behalf if shopping in store is significantly challenging for you
-Do your shopping online and collect from store most large chain stores offers click and collect service
-Order your shopping online and get it delivered to you most chain stores provide this service
-You could arrange your shopping list by the layout of isles in your chosen supermarket
-When you are running low or out of stock on an item you need put it straight on to your shopping list so don’t forget to buy it when you next go shopping
IF YOU HAVE THEM REMEMBER TO TAKE RE-USEABLE SHOPPING BAGS WITH YOU!!!
Ways to remember shopping bags:
-Leave them in your car
-Have a hook or place near the door to store them so you see them on way out
-Reminder on your phone
-write it in diary/on calendar if you have one
-Reminder note on the side/fridge
-Keep some in your bag all the time