View point from Sheila on Namibia Silverlinig Expedition 2nd trip

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.

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