Faith Stories

Lauren and Steve travelled to Ghana with Project G.

Article text
Steve & Lauren with children from St. George's School.

This summer two members of St. Cuthbert’s Church, Lauren Brushwood and Steve McDermott travelled to the Diocese of Ho in Ghana, to take part in ‘Project G’ to paint the special needs part of St. George's School.

Lauren has grown up as a member of St. Cuthbert’s Church as her family live in the parish and have worshipped here for some years.

Steve began worshipping at St. Cuthbert’s when he met Lauren and he is currently attending a Christianity Explored course.

For some years Portsmouth Diocese has been forging links with the Diocese of Ho in Ghana and many members of St. Cuthbert’s Church have met Bishop Mathias of Ho when he has visited Portsmouth.

Lauren and Steve learnt about Project G from David Power who told them about a meeting at St. Jude’s regarding the trip when Bishop Matthias was visiting.

Eighteen young people from the Diocese travelled to Ghana, which was led by Rev. Michael Duff (Vicar of St. Jude’s, Southsea), his wife Rachel and Fran Carabott also from St Jude’s Church.

Steve and Lauren mainly used the crowdfunding website Just Giving to raise money to pay for the cost of the trip. Progress was regularly published on social media sites (mainly Facebook and Twitter).

St. Cuthbert’s members and the PCC made contributions to their funding, which concluded with a fundraising Quiz Night on Saturday 21st May, which raised £525.

Lauren said, “We needed to raise £1400 each, after tonight's quiz we will have reached our target (yay!)”

“We are travelling to Ho on the 22nd July and we will be there until the 2nd of August. Whilst we are there we will be painting a school for children with disabilities, as well as this we will be playing games and doing various activities with the children”.


Here are a series of extracts from Lauren Brushwood’s e-mails for the website:

Friday 22nd July

Project G have arrived safe and sound after an hours delay at the airport. We had a 'traditional' Ghanaian meal last night of chicken and chips and we're all very glad to reach bed last night.

Saturday 23rd July

This morning we had a 4 hour coach trip from Accra to Ho.

We had a lovely walk along a beautiful bridge (name to follow, but most likely the Adomi Bridge which spans the Volta River Editor).

We saw lots of stalls and stopped to get some fruit.

Later we spent this afternoon at the Bishop’s house enjoying chicken and rice for lunch and meeting some of his children. We spent this evening in the swimming pool and are now chilling out before our pizza arrives- another traditional Ghanaian delicacy.

Monday 25th July

We started work on painting the school for the special needs children today and we got absolutely loads done. The children helped us lots and seemed very excited to have us there.

We also had lunch at the Bishop’s house and are just having some downtime before returning there for dinner tonight.

It's been a very hot, tiring and rewarding day.

Tuesday 26th July

The school is really beginning to look fabulous now, inside and out. We've all worked very hard today doing lots of painting. The kids were all very excited to see us again.

We had lunch at the Bishop's house again this afternoon and then got back to work. This evening we are spending some time letting our bodies recover before going back out to the Bishop's for dinner tonight.

Wednesday 27th July

We are now finishing up on the final touches of the school. We have now said a very emotional goodbye to the children and prayed for them all.

We are just stopping for a quick lunch at the Bishop Mathias’s house. Steve and Mike are working on a little drainage system by the side of the school - photos to follow!

Thursday 28th July

What an emotional day today has been!

The school is finished, the kids were happy and we were all in tears at their natural beauty and delight.

There is a text painted over the special needs department reads: I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made ... from psalm 139 v 14

We also had time to browse around a batik shop which is a type of fabric and learnt how it was made.

We spent some time in the pool this evening and we are now enjoying a delicious evening meal at the bishops.

Friday 29th July

Today we had a very well earned day at the beach. The waves were very choppy but we all had a laugh and all got a little bit sunburnt (except from Steve who is very burnt). We had our lunch at the beach and the Bishop joined us.

This evening we had some time to realise and to plan tomorrow's morning worship that us, the young people are running. We then all shared lots of pizzas before relaxing and going off to bed.

It's been a very relaxing day full of lots of laughs.

Saturday 30th July

To everyone at St. Cuthbert and St. Aidan’s, a big hello to the congregation from Steve and I please.

We are both safe and the school is all finished. We're just beginning to wind down before we travel home on Monday.

We will be attending a 4 hour service at St George’s cathedral tomorrow morning and having lunch at the bishop's.

We're very tired but very happy with all we have achieved and look forward to sharing it all with everyone when we're back.


Lauren & Steve will be telling of their experiences in Ho over 'tea & cake' in St. Cuthbert's Church on Sunday 28th August (see Weekly Newsletter for details)