Samantha swaps Ballynahinch for South Africa

Samantha swaps Ballynahinch for South Africa

15 February 2012

A LOCAL teacher has recently swapped her classroom in Ballynahinch for an orphanage in South Africa.

Samantha Lewis, the P1 teacher at Drumlins Integrated Primary School, spent part of her Christmas and New Year holidays in Rachel’s Place, an orphanage for over 30 young children in a village near Lesotho.

The orphanage is named after Samantha’s friend Rachel White, who had planned to work at the orphanage before she was killed in a car accident in 2008. Rachel’s Place is run by Valerie and Dave Bailey, from Tandragee.

Before Samantha left on her trip the staff and pupils from Drumlins primary helped raise money for a number of facilities at the orphanage, including the construction of a new playground.

Samantha travelled to South Africa with five friends who worked at Rachel’s Place, decorating the orphanage with murals and pictures, playing with the children, doing face painting and nail art for all the children, even the boys.

In the evenings they helped feed the children hot meals. One of the highlights of the trip was working on the playground which has been extremely popular with all the children.

The staff at Rachel’s Place, as well as looking after the 30 resident children, also go out on to the streets and feed and cloth hundreds of the local children who live in very poor conditions as their families have no money to buy food and clothes.

When she returned to Ballynahinch in January, Samantha told the pupils in Drumlins primary of the orphanage and the very different life led by South African children.