Teen's South Africa trip a real eye opener
1:40pm Sunday 6th May 2012 in News
After experiencing life in a deprived South African district, a Haverfordwest teenager says her priorities have changed.
Louise Folena spent 13 days in Lehae, where she helped to build a school for disadvantaged children, as part of the Youth Mission Project led by charity Young Life International.
And after returning to her home in Trafalgar Road, 15- year-old Louise said her priorities in life had changed.
She said: “I appreciate things more, and think of others more.
“When we first arrived, we went to a poor settlement where we gave out food and clothes, and I saw that people had nothing, but were really happy.
“Kids here moan about not having enough stuff. But over there, if someone had half a bar of chocolate, they would share it out. Their priorities are completely different.”
Louise was part of a group of 70 UK youngsters, who helped with the initial building stages, including concreting the land, and cutting windows and doors out of eight large shipping containers that formed the basis of each classroom.
But Louise said that an encounter with a young South African girl had the biggest impact on her.
She said: “While we were working, a nine-year-old girl came over with a baby strapped to her back.
“The girl told us that she looked after the child on her own, after the baby’s mother died when it was just onemonth- old.
“And she just coped with it, as well as any 20-year-old living in this country would.”
Louise said that she was already thinking about fundraising for a similar trip next year.
Louise’s mum Fiona added: “It was worrying for us when Louise left, but we’re glad we didn’t stop her doing it because I think it was a very eye-opening experience for her.”