A LOCAL teacher has been keeping an online diary throughout a charity trip to help the less fortunate in Africa.
Mary Theresa Clancy, who turns 29 next month, jetted thousands of miles on the trip of a lifetime, organised through the British-based AIM Synergy programme.
Donoughmore woman Mary, a qualified primary school teacher, had always been involved in voluntary work, youth clubs, and helping disadvantaged young people.
After teaching in Ballymun, north Dublin for a time, she decided to take time out to visit some of the poorest communities on the planet.
And she kept her friends and former colleagues updated online.
Mary is a daughter of businesswoman Mona Clancy, who runs the Geraldine’s Bar at Lower Gerald Griffin Street.
The first port of call on her trip was Madagascar - but she had the toughest possible start when her funds failed to clear in time for the trip.
Having travelled to London Heathrow airport, Mary was expecting to travel on an onward flight to Madagascar.
But the agency attempted to block her trip, leaving Mary furious.
“I didn’t eat or sleep much, I shed a few tears, did some breathing exercises to stop the panic from bubbling over, and even threw a tantrum in the hotel room in my own,” she said.
Fortunately, the agency got back to her in the early hours of the following day, and much to her relief, she could travel.
But life was equally as tough in Madagascar, with regular electricity outages, no light, and no water supply.
Despite this, she managed to keep in touch with her mother, who said: “I have never been in such regular contact. We often went for months without contact when she was in Dublin. But she is on the other side of the world, and we have regular contact”.
Mona said her family are so proud of their only daughter.
Mary returned to Limerick two weeks ago, and was only looking for a few creature comforts, her mum said.
“All she said to me was that when she came home that she wanted lamb for dinner, and she hoped I’d kept her an Easter egg, and a mobile phone, as she had lost hers in Madagascar.”