A BOUT of tonsillitis saved a volunteer from being caught up in violent riots across Kenya.
Chester University student Jane Strand was due to spend her Christmas holiday in Nairobi, where she spent three months volunteering in an orphanage last summer.
But just before her trip, the 22-year-old was taken to hospital to have her tonsils removed and was pronounced unfit to travel.
Disappointment turned to relief when she realised she had escaped violent clashes following disputed presidential elections in Kenya, in which nearly 500 people have died.
Jane, from Childer Thornton, hoped to return to Kenya to spend more time at the orphanage, Hope House, in which she spent three months last summer.
Jane is also looking into the possibility of paying the £200 fee to put one of the youngsters she met through school for a year.
She explained: “It was undoubtedly the best thing I have ever done in my life. It really opened my eyes to the world, and I know a lot of people say that after trips like this, but it’s hard to put into words just how amazing the whole experience is.
“I don’t think I could have had a better time, and I even tried to extend my stay for another week..”
Jane split her time volunteering between Hope House and Orphan Cry in Ghana, where she spent time with about 70 orphans aged between three months and 22 years.
In many cases, the youngsters had lost their parents to Aids or had been abandoned due to poverty.
Despite the language barrier, Jane and two other volunteers spent time teaching the children basic numeracy skills and taking them on nature walks.
She explained: “They just wanted your love and someone to cuddle, and would spend the whole time climbing on you. It was very easy to become attached to them and heart-breaking to think that you couldn’t really do a lot to help.
“All they wanted to do was help you. There was no clean water so you had to get washed at the well, and they would fight over who washed your clothes. They wanted to help in every way they could and it was just incredible.”