Update 23rd April 2010

April 23, 2010

Made it!  Am sitting in the very same seat that I sat in when I posted the update when I was on my way to Kenya in January.  Not sure what it is about me going to Kenya and the weather as it was snow that almost scuppered my plans last time, this time volcanic ash!

Fair to say its been a bit of a rollercoaster week with trying to work out whether the trip was on or not, trying to tie in with Rocky from America and looking at contingency plans.  Train, 12 hours on a bus (yuck several sick bags would have been needed for that) and hitch hiking were all investigated.

However, with things looking better by Wednesday night I decided to stick with flying.  The plan had been to fly BMI to Heathrow with some colleagues who were travelling down for a meeting, with the added purpose of carrying a case of knickers for me.  With all the disruption and uncertainty the meeting was cancelled.  I managed to get 1355 pairs of pants into 2 suitcases, which is fine for flying Virgin Atlantic to Nairobi, but you’re only allowed 1 case (20kg) flying BMI to Heathrow so was looking at excess baggage charges of over £200 😦

[imagine a drum roll] Step forward my 2 new heroes – Tracey Ashworth-Davies and David Robinson.  David called me yesterday just after 3pm to tell me he’d managed to get my excess baggage charges waived.  This completely confused me as couldn’t understand how he knew about it, but David and Tracey had  been scheming behind my back.  Tracey was one of the pants mules going to the meeting in London and felt bad that the meeting had been cancelled.  Unknown to me she had spoken to David and written to BMI a pleading email asking for the charges to be waived but they said no.  Did they give up?  Nope – David then drove out to Edinburgh airport and somehow managed to get them to agree to it.  How amazing are they, and I want FULL details of how he managed it when I get back.

As it looked really bleak at the beginning of the week as to whether the trip would be on or not, we only tentatively organised transport for going to the IDP camps, so have no firm plan in place.  If we can’t get to the camps, then I’ll be going to an orphanage and schools in and around Kahawa West, or it might be a mix of both.  This time tomorrow I’ll be on “Kenyan” time so who knows.

But what we do know is that I won’t be worrying about excess baggage costs on the way home as I’ll be 1355 pairs of knickers lighter 🙂

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Update 4 January 2010

January 4, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Hope you all had a good one and the PANTS weather didn’t stop you from seeing family, friends and enjoying yourself.

Well, am sitting at Heathrow feeling very pleased with  myself as have been stressing for days over getting here!  Have had to abandon my car several times due to the flippin bad weather, done my back in on Wednesday and had the cold lingering about.  However, several heat pads and hot water bottles later back is on the mend, sniffles drying up and thanks to my family and friends (and brother’s friend’s)  I’m checked in, bags are gone (what a relief) and in about an hour I should be meeting the American ladies.

Special mention to Rob and Glen, my new heroes!  With the bad weather and my car being useless was in a bit of a panic about how I was going to get 2 suitcases (if I tell you I’ve just paid £60.00 excess baggage you get an idea of how heavy the bags were) and myself to Edinburgh given the dodgy back and lack of car.  Well they turned up at my door on Sunday afternoon and took the bags to Edinburgh for me – what stars and if I tell you I’ve only met Glen once and never met Rob you can understand how grateful I am that they went out their way to help me out.  It was then a doddle getting to Edinburgh later, Scotrail behaved themselves and I stayed over at my mum’s.  Taxi turned up at 6.45am, got to Waverley to meet Rosslyn (thanks for getting up early) who then helped me on the 8am train to London.  Easy peasy, don’t know why I was worrying…

Wee update on our total – thanks to Gerry, Aileen & her colleagues at Sixt and Susan (again) for the donations – new total is 6341.

Thanks again to everyone who has donated – will post an update when I’m back. 

Maria

 PS need to put a few of you straight on the “lucky you, escaping this weather to somewhere nice and hot”,  items on the “need to take with you” list is wellies and a rain jacket!!

 

 

Update 14 December 2009

December 14, 2009

5650 new total!! 

Keep your fingers crossed that the 1,000 undies have made their way safely to Ethiopia, they should have arrived yesterday to be met by Danielle. Will post an update once I hear from her.  You may see in the local press a bit about us as City Link’s PR people have put out a wee press release.
As you can see from the new total people have still been busy – thanks to Stella (again!), Andrea and Nicola (St Johns), Ashley, Glenda and colleagues at Silver Mills, family and neighbours, Becky and colleagues and NBST.  Will miss the “drop your pants here” sign…

Am now in the process of “bagging” the undies for Kenya. THANKS to Malcolm and Sioban for donating the vacu bags – saved me a fortune.  Never used these bags before, they are brilliant, love the bit when you hoover out the air and yes, yes no need for smart comments about “at last something that makes you get the hoover out”.Thanks to Rosslyn for giving up 3 hours of her time yesterday, I now have 2 suitcases packed and ready for Kenya!  

Will be doing my monthly roundup at the weekend – hopefully will be able to update you on Ethiopia, Kenya & charitable status.

 
 
 

 

Update 5 December 2009

December 5, 2009

4424 is the new total!!! 

Was out in the knicker mobile on Friday and picked up 958 items!  South Queensferry was the place to be.  Did a quick pick up from my friend Karen – BIG thanks to her family and friends then it was off to meet Ian, Caroline and Ann.  God knows what people must have thought as they seen us stuffing bags of undies into my boot – thankfully got home without crashing as that would have taken some explaining – hundreds of undies strewn across the M8.  Thanks to the folks of Limekilns and surrounding villages  (Caroline and Ian) and LBS (Les and colleagues).  Also to the others who have dropped off at my desk,  special mention to Lynn D as she’s the first person to find plastic pants – Boots in Hamilton if you want to know.

Have another 2 pick ups that I know about next week so will keep you posted.

My new best friend is City Link as they are picking up the 1,000 items on Monday.  Thanks to Steven for sorting the boxes and taking the photos (see photo gallery!) and to Jane for her help in packing the boxes.  City Link are shipping our undies to Ethiopia for  nought!  They have been brilliant in sorting me out and because I don’t have the expense of going back to Ethiopia myself, or paying the shipping have confirmed my place to go to Kenya on 4th January.  More on that later.

SO been a busy time for smallsforall but its fabby to see it all coming together and the fact I have literally thousands of undies stashed around the house gives me the perfect excuse not to have Christmas dinner at my house, the fact I can’t cook doesn’t even come into it this year.  THANK YOU all for your encouragement, support and donations.

Mariax

Update 29th November 2009

November 29, 2009

I’ve not posted an update since the 20th, apologies but was holding off until I knew Ethiopia was sorted and I knew more about Kenya. 

SO thanks to Alan, Jacqui and Toshy (Ian) we are sorted with a courier to take the 1000 items to Ethiopia!  Today I have spent the afternoon sorting out the 1000 that I promised Danielle, and was really chuffed to get a bit of my dining room back.  However, won’t be for long as expecting in the region of 500+ items this week….

Last night, about 10.30pm (hate dealing with the time difference between here and America!) I got confirmation  that I am going to Kenya in January.  Need to sort flights etc out but will give more detail later.

Maria

Update 16th November 2009

November 16, 2009

2141!  Was like a kid at Christmas going into work today as just knew there would be “stuff” on my desk!  Wasn’t disappointed as in total there were 309 items in carrier bags and a box.

BIG thanks to Shannen and her friends as they collected 134 items!  Bettsie wimped out collecting them for me so they had to post them.  Am sure the kids in Ethiopia will love the knickers.

Will keep posting updates on the number of donations as we go, but at the end of the month will do a “monthly roundup” summary as will hopefully have an update on the arrangements for getting the stuff to Ethiopia, a wee fundraiser that will raise money for Children In Need and Smalls for All and progress (if any) on getting Smalls for All accepted as a charity as this will help with ie approaching shops etc.

 

Update 12th November 2009

November 12, 2009

1832 items!!  with more on the way.  Thanks to everyone, but a special mention has to go to Visit Scotland (via Nicola).

A couple of things I need to let you know about.

Firstly, I talked about going back to Ethiopia this year and taking your donations to the orphanages supported by Ethiopian Orphanage Relief (through talking to Danielle the founder) and the orphanage I worked in.  Danielle is going to be in Addis in December and we’ve agreed that I will look into courier services to send the underwear to where she will be staying, and she will distribute.  I struggled a bit with this as the intention was for me to take the underwear myself, but am confident that our donations will get to the orphanages through Danielle.  It’s not concrete but this is the plan.

There is good and bad news on the back of this revised plan!  The good news is that given the overwhelming support and enthusiasm of people,  I’ve made plans to support the distributor in Kenya!! Therefore the bad news is that we (you!) need to keep collecting…

There is a trip scheduled for January but felt this was a bit soon, once I know dates for the trip I will let you know but it will be next year.

Maria

Update 8th November 2009

November 8, 2009

Well I had a fun Saturday afternoon surrounded by 1211 items of underwear!  With the help of Angie and Holly we soon had them sorted into 3 lots (women, boys, girls) then we sorted them further into ages and sizes.  No sooner than we’d finished though and I had a text from Bettsie saying another 132 items were on their way to me, was going to push my luck and ask him to sort for me but reckon I know what he’d say…

Was out of the office at the end of last week so am a bit nervous about what I’m going into tomorrow.  I owe Mr McIntyre a fish and chips lunch as he’s been a “pant mule” bringing the donations through from Glasgow, he emailed me to say he had “2 big bags full of pants”, he’d taken a holdall through but he couldn’t get them all in.  

Was on a course Thursday and Friday, I knew most of the people there but there were some people I had never met before.  Unfortunately, Mr Halley as we were standing getting registered and introduced, made the comment ” before we leave tomorrow mind me to give you your pants, they’re in the car”.  

Will post an update over the next few days.

Maria

Update 4th November 2009

November 4, 2009

New total (drum roll)…..1127!!

Will keep this “brief” – get it?  Well I’ve had to hear it lots so might as well say it once myself.

Just did a pick up at Stella’s and collected an unbelievable 488 items, this is amazing as has taken her less than 2 weeks to collect this.  Special thanks to her colleagues at Standard Life and to her friend Andrea, and Andrea’s colleagues at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

At the risk of sounding boring, I just have to say again, that the response has been unbelievable!  Just today a friend called to say a shop and primary school in Limekilns were interested in getting involved, my lovely goddaughter has St Margarets Academy in Livingston advertising our appeal on their plasma screens, another friend in South Queensferry has put the word out and is collecting.  Last night a friend of my mum called to say she is getting the hospital where she works in Edinburgh involved, add to all that I know that Bright Grey and Scottish Life are busy collecting! 

Was in contact with one of the women who distribute in Kenya tonight and told her I had over 1000 items already, given we really only started a couple of few ago, I think her response sums up perfectly what I think as well.

Her response was “Holy shit”

Update 3rd November 2009

November 3, 2009

Hello, thought I give a wee update on numbers!  As at tonight, I have 639 items of underwear stored in my dining room…with a pick up from Stella tomorrow, not sure exactly how many she has but know its more than 100.

David is working on the “pantometer”, am a bit worried what that will look like as his mind is running wild (have seen a few drawings on his desk ).

Have said “thank you” to those that have given me the underwear but have an outstanding thank you to the person who sent me 2 bras and a pair of knickers through the post, and to the person who left 20 pairs of knickers on my desk!  Can I ask if you are leaving on my desk or posting that you give a name so I can contact you to say thanks.

Maria