Pupils share African experience with their peers

Pupils share African experience with their peers

8th October 2013


STUDENTS have been sharing their experiences following an unforgettable trip to help the poor and sick in Africa.

The group of six from Trinity Academy, in Thorne, spent two weeks carrying out home based care for the elderly, getting involved in building projects and working with orphans with HIV in Zambia.

They were joined on the expedition by students from their sister schools in the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, which organises voluntary work in Africa for sixth formers each year.

  Student Abigail Hepworth said: "You see things on television about poverty in Africa but when you get there you realise it's a daily reality. We saw clear examples of malnutrition and children queuing up for a meal that was the first they’d had in two days."

Ryan Wood added: "When I did home based care we went to a house where the mother had HIV and there were a lot of children. We cooked a meal and it seemed like the whole community came. We didn't eat because we weren’t sure there was going to be enough to go round."

  John Baxter recalled the faces of the children when the students handed out toys they had taken with them. "The way their faces lit up when I gave them a small, wind-up caterpillar was brilliant. They have very little but they're so happy with what they do have."

Tim Watkins added: "No matter how small the gift they appreciated the fact that you were just there."

As well as working with local people, the students got to visit a game park, sleep under the stars and to climb the 2,000m Mount Mumpu.

They travelled everywhere in the back of an open truck, stayed in traditional huts, ate the local food which included nshima, a staple made from maize flour, and learned some of the local Bemba language.

 For Laura Day, meeting a little boy called Ian with cranial expansion stood out. "It's very sad the way that people with disabilities or special needs are stigmatised there and are often hidden away," she said.

Abigail hopes to return to Africa one day after training as a teacher.

"If I had the choice between here and there I would go to Zambia every time," she added.

"It makes you feel like you should appreciate what you have because the people there are so happy with so little.

"They don't look at what they don't have, they value and appreciate what they do have and I think we should be more like that."

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