AN inspiring grandmother from Colne has already raised in the region of £2,500 following a trip to Southern Brazil.
Late last year Maggie Randall, a retired teacher, made a second visit to the country, so that she could help build a home for children who have been rescued from lives of violent abuse.
Having now returned to her home in Pendle, Maggie, who helped to raise funds for her trip by arranging a garden tea party and a jubilee quiz, has shared her experiences with the Colne Times.
The 71-year-old was part of a small team who embarked on the journey, which was organised by Mission Direct, a Christian charity who work in some of the poorest parts of the world.
Upon her arrival, Maggie, along with other volunteers, learnt that they were unable to start building the second orphanage immediately, due to the wet and cold weather. The team consequently returned to the houses they had built for slum dwellers a couple of years ago, and spent time painting, and grouting floor tiles.
Once they were able to begin their new project, the team worked hard unloading two lorry loads of 3,000 bricks, levelling the foundations, and brick-laying. Work will continue on the home when another team visit Brazil around Easter.
Among many other experiences, the group also visited a drug rehabilitation centre, favelas, and clubs for children living in the poorest areas, who have no family structure.
Maggie, who was also able to visit Indianaira, a young girl she writes to when back in England, told how many members of the group were moved to tears by some of the stories they heard along the way.
She said: “The visit was incredible — there is no way you can describe it actually.
“Drugs and violence are a massive problem out there, and because of the drugs there are a lot of gangs around.
“There has been more deaths in Rio due to violence than there has been in Iraq. That makes you really think.
“We had an absolutely wonderful team, who really worked together as a whole.”
Maggie has not yet decided whether she will be making her return to Brazil for a third time.
Although she would love to, especially after building up such strong relationships in the country, she described the journey as being an “absolute killer”.
Maggie will be hosting a talk in the coming months, to share her experiences with other Pendle residents.
l Anyone wishing to sponsor Maggie can send donations to The Mission, Goitside, Nelson, BB9 7XD.