A teenager from St Annes has just returned from Ghana after a “trip of a lifetime”.
Jessica Hoyle, 18, spent three months helping the lives of many children who cannot read or write.
After responding to a radio advert about a Government-funded scheme named the International Citizen Service, Jessica found herself helping the lives of many children in Ghana funded by the charity ‘Creating Change’.
Jessica is a former student of Lytham High and the trip seemed a perfect project to undertake after deciding early on that she would have a gap year.
She said: “Arriving there was a culture shock.
“It was unbelievably hot and being white I was a novelty to the population of the little village of Tamale.
“I was definitely out of my comfort zone and there were a few scary moments but overall, this was the experience of a lifetime.”
“I was placed in accommodation with nine other volunteers who came from different countries but all spoke English who quickly became my friends.”
In order to be selected, Jessica went through a detailed programme which involved group interviews and role-play on given scenarios.
Jessica says the rewarding part of her trip was working with the students who were a pleasure to teach.
She said: “The students were lovely. They were happy, kind, respectful, eager and grateful to learn.
“I feel that the volunteers and I did make a difference and I have come home as a more mature me.
“The things that seemed so important before, I now class as trivial.”
Jessica was tasked with running literacy classes while teaching the children about hygiene and issues such as water management.
In her time there, Jessica contracted a mild form of typhoid which led to a few days of suffering with the illness with no clean running water.
She said: “It was awful, I was sick, dizzy, and had chronic headaches, I was bed stricken for days.”
Despite the vast challenge she faced daily, Jessica thoroughly enjoyed her time in Africa.
She said: “I wish I could have stayed longer but would urge anyone who feels up to the challenge to go for it!”
Jessica has not lost the travelling bug since returning as the teenager is set to visit Thailand, Australia and New Zealand from next month.