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Changed by Africa

Jackie Macadam reports on a transforming trip to Africa for a group from an Edinburgh social enterprise.

“I’LL never forget it. Watching children mixing sand into this dirty water and drinking it, just so they’d have something in their stomach. Even using bits of burst balloons as chewing gum.”

Jody is one of the volunteers who works at the Grassmarket Project, a social enterprise attached to Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh.

She’s talking about a recent trip six people from the project took into a remote area of Zambia to help the locals build a school for girls there.

“It was traumatic,” she says. “All these kids with no shoes, ragged clothes. You see it on adverts but it’s so different when you are there. When we gave them a hug they had no idea what we were doing. They live on their own, just the kids together in huts. They don’t interact with adults at all. There’s no hugs, they don’t even get fed daily - just a few times a week, no education. We’d play games, sing. They’d be clustered round our hut in the early morning wanting us to play with them. It was heartbreaking - but also the highlight. In spite of everything, they were happy and loving and welcoming”

Tommy Steel, senior manager of the Grassmarket Community Project, was inspired to organise the trip by a visit to Greyfriars Church by the Rev Jackson Katete from Zambia. Minister the Rev Richard Frazer suggested that Jackson and Tommy might be able to help each other out and the seed was sown.

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About Life and Work

IN THIS ISSUE SCOTLAND 2020 The changing face of Scotland since the millennium CHANGED BY AFRICA Social enterprise group trip to Zambia TAKING STEPS OF FAITH Interview with chief exectutive of National Weekend of Invitation and much more