It was a touching experience. But two friends have returned home from a poverty-stricken African community knowing they have made a difference to the lives of underprivileged children.
And friends Shirley Fraser, from Amble, and Nicola Brennan, of South Broomhill, have thanked everyone who supported their fund-raising efforts which allowed them to help youngsters living in Ghana.
The pair stayed at the Hohoe Christian Charity School in the Volta Region and also visited Eugemot Orphanage during their three-week stint overseas.
Shirley said: “People’s donations enabled us to provide three months worth of food for both the school and orphanage.
“We helped finish three classrooms at the school, built a storage room at the orphanage and provided essential medication for the children such as antibiotics, worming tablets and malaria tablets.
“We provided them with new sleeping mats and buckets for washing as well as buying weed killer and fertiliser for nine acres of land to enable them to become self-sufficient and grow their own rice.”
The friends also took two suitcases full of football strips, books, games, pens and paper.
On their last night at the school, the pair provided ingredients to prepare the local dish of fufu.
Nicola said: “They only get this dish at Christmas and Easter and the look on their faces was priceless.
“It was absolutely amazing to see all of those children with nothing, and I mean nothing, but they were always smiling and really thankful for whatever we gave them.”
Shirley carried out a month’s voluntary work in the area in 2011 and was so shocked by the poverty, she was determined to return.
Shirley and Nicola decided they would go out in 2013 and held a series of fund-raising events.
Money-making nights were held in Togston Terrace Club and Amble Club, and both venues gave a donation towards the costs of 2 good 2 go and the Shawaddydaddies, who performed at a discounted price.
Raffles were also held with prizes donated from local people and businesses.