At 17, Miranda Tymoschuk is planning her third trip to Africa. With two previous trips under her belt - to Kenya and Ghana - she knows it's not going to be a relaxing holiday.
The trips are about improving the lives of children on the other side of the globe.
On her first two trips, Miranda joined other students from Thomas Haney Secondary, and spent days doing physical work to build facilities so kids could go to school.
For her upcoming trip, planned for spring 2014, Miranda is kicking off her fundraising efforts by collecting bottles and cans. Her goal is to generate the $5,000 needed for the trip to Ghana. She already has a few bags full stored and waiting to be returned.
Her first trip to Africa was to Kenya in 2012 where she spent two weeks working on building a Grade 5 classroom and library.
In 2013 on her second trip to the African continent, she went to Ghana.
The organization she travels with, Free the Children - run by the Kielburger brothers - has done a lot of work in Kenya, but Ghana is a new target for the charitable organization, and she said they are still in the initial stages of development work there.
Miranda said she's looking forward to going back to Ghana to see how much work has been accomplished there since she last went in March.
"It was an amazing experience - I learned so much there," Miranda said.
Ghana is located in western Africa, just east of the Ivory Coast.
The people in Ghana don't have a lot. Their lives are much simpler than those of Canadians, but Miranda said they seemed very happy and they appreciated what they had, describing them as "friendly and welcoming."
On her first trip to Ghana during spring break this year, she was there for 10 days building a classroom. This included digging the foundation, mixing cement, and making and laying bricks.
Despite language barriers, Miranda said she was still able to build friendships with the kids in Ghana.
Miranda will be in Ghana again for 10 days. While it's a lot of hard work raising money to go to do aid work in Africa and hard work when she's there, "it's so rewarding," Miranda said.
Miranda is also working part-time to help raise money for her trip, babysitting and working for Big Feast Bistro.
To donate bottles and cans toward Miranda's fundraising efforts, contact her at 604-463-3216. Her blog can be found at Ilaughlovedream.blogspot. com.
@ Copyright 2013