From Launceston To Senegal
by Naomi Kennedy
A teenager from Launceston is swapping studying for street children in Senegal. Esther Rich has just finished her GCSE's and will be travelling to work at a Missionary school.
A 16-year-old student from Launceston is exchanging her summer holiday in Cornwall to work with street children in Senegal.
Instead of lounging about and recharging the batteries after months of revision, Esther Rich has decided to see more of the world to find out if it will shape her career plans.
As a committed Christian, Esther feels she is being called to be a missionary, but at 16, she wants to experience more of the world.
Esther will be living in Senegal
At the age of 15-years-old she got the chance of a lifetime - to spend her school work experience in Hollywood. Esther says:
"I worked on the American set of 'Deal or No Deal' and interview an actor. I thought Hollywood was really nice but it was over-rated, you didn't see celebrities walking down the street all the time, just tourists.
"I've been brought up and taught the differences in culture so I've learnt about poverty and the wealthy side of life. I wanted to see the contrast so I could make my own mind up about it."
Esther's mum, Cindy Rich is excited for her daughter, and is proud that she has been to Hollywood:
"We're the sort of parents who say if you want to go for something then go for it - we can't do if for you but if you want it to work then go for it. So she set about doing sponsorships like not eating crisps and chocolate for a month and eventually got the money to go.
"I went out with her as she was only 15-years-old then. She had a wonderful time out there but did find it was a very 'me-centered' culture and everything was about what you can achieve and materialism.
Fishing is a major industry in Senegal
"I think going to Africa is going to be a huge contrast for her and to see the contrast from Hollywood and Africa is going to be amazing".
Click on the link below to hear BBC Cornwall's Naomi Kennedy interviewing Esther Rich:
Esther says its the perfect time to explore before she starts her A-levels:
"I enjoy serving and don't ever know what to do if I'm not working. I was stressed out about my GCSE's but now they're over and I'm preparing to go to Africa."
As a committed Christian, she does feel that this trip will be a service to God, but says she also enjoys helping people so she will get lots from it as well.
"We can talk a lot about helping people who are in need, but there is a lot in the Bible, especially in the book of James, that talks about putting your faith in action. I really think it is part of being a Christian, even a young Christian, about seeing the need in other people's lives and getting out of your own self-focussed lives.
"Looking out to other needs that people have in different countries is a huge learning curve and I think she'll learn a lot from it".
Read Esther's diary entries so far:
last updated: 09/07/07