A place that will be forever in my heart. By Jessica Hughes

Last Monday I was anxious and apprehensive about the trip, I’d only had a few weeks to prepare….going away with strangers, going to a country I wasn’t familiar with, sleeping outside and eating different food. The weeks before had been filled with filling in visa applications, sorting vaccinations and medication and fundraising so that I had a healthy amount to donate that I didn’t have time to feel nervous but here it was, 4am on Monday 21st October and I was ready to leave.

The village of Ayensuako is your typical rural African village, the roads are unfinished (there are no paths, people and vehicles share the same road) , the houses are more like shacks (whole families live and sleep in one room), food is sparse and running water is non-existent but the people have so much heart, soul, passion and resilience. You couldn’t go anywhere without them saying hello and waving, asking how we were and welcoming us to the village. The children crowded you and would want nothing more than to hold your hand and walk to school with you. The loved having their photo taken, enjoyed songs like ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ and loved learning new games like cricket! All they did was smile and enjoy the time you were spending with them! The donations given to them made them so happy! To get some second hand clothes and shoes (our unwanted items) gave them so much joy! They run around with rips in their clothes and holes in their shoes so to get items that are in near perfect condition made their day, month and year!!

The marathon….oh my god!! What a challenge!! 13.1 miles in 30 degree heat, no barriers on the pathway, the roads still full of cars, buses and people, no stewards, just a handful of arrows to show you the route. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I thought I had prepared myself but I hadn’t. At times I didn’t think I would be able to do it but I did and I am so proud of myself! Should I go back next year to beat my time?

People have asked me ‘was it a once in a lifetime trip?’ I say ‘no because it won’t be ONCE in a lifetime!’

Will I go back to Ghana? Absolutely! Will I return to the village of Ayensuako to help the school? In a heartbeat! Will I remember my time and the people in this country? Without a doubt!

Taken from the Humanitas Blog. Follow the link to read the complete blog