A Derry student who is planning to volunteer in Kenya this summer is trying to figure a way to fit her saxophone into her suitcase.
Megan Owens from the Waterside is currently studying for a degree in music at the University of Glasgow.
But she has decided to spend the holidays as a volunteer in Kenya teaching young people.
“I’m going in five weeks’ time and I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.
“I decided that I wanted to do something really worthwhile this summer so I started looking online for some volunteer placements overseas.” She found the government funded Voluntary Services Overseas and decided to go for it .
“I had to go for an interview and then I heard that I’d been accepted,” she said.
Megan explained that volunteers are placed in countries where their particular skills can help.
“The project in Kenya is predominately education based,” she said. “So the plan is to put my music skills to good use by teaching the children.
“I play saxophone, ukelele and I’m a singer. I’ll be taking my ukelele with me but unfortunately there won’t be any room for my saxophone.
“I’ll be hoping to teach English and bring in my music skills and do some dancing and singing. The key is to make it all a bit of fun.”
The former Lumen Christi student will be travelling in a team of nine to Machakos.
“I think the experience will be a real eye-opener,” she said. “We’ve been told that Machakoa is very hot but poor and we hope we will be able to help.
“As well as teaching we will be working to grow crops and teaching a bit about agriculture.
“Obviously it will be strange not having all the comforts of home and being without my phone, but that’s what new experiences are all about. You don’t have to be on your phone all day, it really can take over.”
On her return home after her 12 week trip Megan will follow up with an Action at Home project where she will be asked to go into schools and teach pupils about her experience out there.
“It’s really all about creating awareness,” she said.
To fund the trip Megan has set up her own Justgiving page and held a number of fundraising activities.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me so far,” she said, “particularly all my family and friends. I’d also like to thank the staff at Centra, Trench Road for allowing me to collect after Mass last Sunday, it was such a help.”