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Bishop offers nine young people the trip of a lifetime

Bishop Brian McGhee of Argyll and the Isles is offering young Catholic in the diocese the chance of a life-changing trip in a Kenyan medical clinic. - By Amanda Connelly

Bishop McGhee is travelling to the Live With Hope Clinic in Kericho, western Kenya, next summer, and hopes young people across the diocese will be keen to join him and help with their valuable work.

“I would like to invite young people from our diocese to join me in working at the Live With Hope Clinic in Kenya,” said the bishop in a statement on the diocesan website. “I will be going for approximately four weeks in July 2018. I can promise you a fantastic experience. This trip is unique because far from staying in a hotel and encountering the people ‘from a distance’ you will be constantly living and working among the locals.

“Over the month you will be privileged to engage with a beautiful country with a completely different culture. You will participate a little in people’s poverty and struggle for survival. You will marvel at their sense of joy and living Faith in God. The experience cannot but challenge your values.

“Travelling to Kenya for a month is a very serious proposition. Our preparation will demand effort, the trip itself will be hard work and you will live in basic conditions. Strong discipline will be demanded.”

Live With Hope is an HIV/AIDS clinic, run by Scottish nun Sr Placida McCann, while most staff and management are Kenyan.

The Faith-based project began 20 years ago, after two parishioners of St Mary’s in the slum area of Motobo realised people were dying from an unknown illness, with prejudice and fear causing them to be excluded by those that knew them.

Benjamin and Samuel, inspired by the Gospel, cared for these sick people, and their parish priest sent them on a course in Nairobi, where they learned about HIV/AIDS.

Others in the parish community joined them in their work, and despite the lack of cure for HIV/AIDS they wanted to give dignity to those who were terminally ill, and named the project Live With Hope as a result.

The Bishop of Kericho asked Sr Placida and fellow Franciscans to help after demand grew, and built a small convent there.

The clinic operates four departments including Voluntary Counselling and Testing; Orphans and Vulnerable Children, which helps helping over 3,000 children via support groups, family visits and residential care; Home Based Care and Haart Clinic, where social workers and nurses visit the sick and give food to those too weak to work, and providing medical attention and medication.

It also has a prevention programme promoting abstinence and fidelity in young people, and is building a sport and training centre for unemployed young people, and runs projects for disabled children and people affected by addiction and child prostitution.

It will be the seventh trip for Bishop McGhee, who will act as group leader, with Angela Kelly as assistant leader.

The trip is limited to nine young people with a preference of three from each deanery: Lochaber, Argyll and the Western Isles, with a mix of males and females taking part.

The young people will stay in church dormitories, and will rise at 7am, beginning the day’s activities at 9am.

The group will carry out fundraising before they go, and will be involved in home visits, support groups, school visits, giving out food and clothing, sports activities, supporting the homeless, organising festivals and cleaning.

There will be opportunities for prayer, reflection and Mass throughout the trip, which the group is expected to attend. It will cost about £800 per person.

Young people can register interest by emailing Bishop McGhee by July 20 2017, with their name, date of birth and where they live. An information evening will then be arranged.

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