Emma in Ghana

I have returned safely from Ghana and am very much looking forward to my visit to church on Sunday! I just wanted to say a massive thank you! I was able to do some wonderful things while I was away and help some wonderful people. None of this would have been possible without the support and generosity of the church.

I have been overwhelmed by people's kindness!

With my time I was able to help some very ill children. On my second day at school I was faced with something truly awful - brother and sister suffering with ring worm. The ring worm was in their head and had caused egg shaped lumps which had then become infected; pus and blood was seeping out of the lumps. Kofe had gone to hospital 2 months ago but as his mum could not afford medical insurance (£1.33) she could not then afford treatment. It went untreated and gradually got worse. Ring worm is highly contagious and so his sister Porche also became ill. I looked after these children, taking them to hospital for treatment and then also insuring them so it would never happen again. Seeing these beautiful children in so much pain was truly heart breaking; no one should suffer in this way. At the end of my trip i was able to insure 100 children at Nkyenenkyene school after a very generous donation from Richard meaning that these children will have good health for 1 year.

After my first week of teaching at the school I set up my own craft school at the volunteer house. I had a group of between 4 and 7 children, and was able to teach these kids skills to produce jewellery, bags, purses, blankets and hair bands/head bands. Over the 2½ weeks with them I was also selling the crafts to my house mates. On my last day with my class I gave them the money they had earned - 90 cedi (£30). It was as if all of their Christmases, Easters and birthdays had come at once. They had never seen that much money before, never mind held it in their hands. I left them with a suitcase (donated by Jeremy and Elizabeth) full of materials to be able to carry on making the crafts they had learnt. This group now has the skills to be able to make and sell crafts which will generate enough money to support their families. A massive thank you to everyone who donated fabric, knitting needles, beads and wool. These were very well used and essential for my class.  

I delivered two water filters to a village with the money raised in the UK, providing clean water to the village of 300 people for 12 years. A gift of clean water. This was definitely the highlight of my time in Ghana. When we arrived at the village all the volunteers were invited to sit; plastic chairs were pulled out for us. The head of the village began to talk. His words were translated: "This has been a moment that for so long we have all dreamed and prayed for. Now you have all come along, you have answered our prayers and made our dreams come true." We all prayed to the forefathers and then a ritual of a very strong but not very tasty alcoholic drink, first of all poured into the ground for the forefathers and then passed around by the head of the village to everyone attending, volunteers and locals. We all drank from the same cup. The ritual was amazing; the drink not so much. We then saw the filters in action. The joy that this brought to the entire village was amazing and something that will stay with me forever! That one gift of clean water has changed the lives of hundreds of people. Every volunteer felt blessed to be a part of something so incredible! 

I left for Ghana with three suitcases full of things that had been donated by all you wonderful people. Everything I took I either used on my first week at school teaching English, Maths and Art or in my craft school on weeks 2, 3 and 4. Anything I was unable to use was donated to the school or the village we took the water filters to. Your donations made so many people so so happy. I left Ghana with empty suitcases but a heart full of joy and memories which will stay with me forever. Thank you so much for making this trip so magical.

We managed a lot in such a small amount of time! This has given me a new direction of what I would like to do in the future. Now I'm home I'm hoping to set up my own charity, fund raising and also making crafts similar to the ones made with my students. I will sell the crafts and all the profit will go to the charity and 100% of the money raised will be used to buy water filters. Once a year I would like to return to Africa to distribute these filters and give more villages the gift of clean water - something all of us take for granted every time we turn a tap on.

Thanks again. None of this would have been possible without each and every one of you.