Everyone is invited to a ceilidh to raise money to help send a Selkirk music teacher to prison ... in Guatemala.
For Amy Ward is going to the Central American country in January to help teenage girls in prison in the city.
The 29-year-old, who will go over in January for two years, said: “I’m not really thinking about it because there is so much to do, but after I’ve been praying about it I’m doing little jigs!”
Amy has raised around £7,000 so far and needs £14,000 to volunteer helping rehabilitate the girls who have committed serious crimes, many as gang members. She will be trying music classes, English teaching, sport, crafts, childcare facilities and “hopefully a way for the girls to earn an income”.
But even two years ago, undertaking such a challenge would have been impossible as the music graduate fought ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, characterised by debilitating fatigue, painful muscles and joints, disordered sleep, gastric disturbances, poor memory and concentration.
She caught a virus in September 2004, but didn’t recover and was diagnosed the following summer.
“Initially I was confined to bed. I couldn’t dress myself, I couldn’t always feed myself, but I gradually got better. By year two or three I was going to hydrotherapy and that was my big week’s outing.”
She started using a wheelchair and then walking sticks, and by January 2011, she was teaching about 25 music pupils each week, but still using walking sticks not able to get far without feeling very poorly.
And she says she had come to terms with spending the rest of her life in Selkirk.
But in February 2011 she went on a three-day course which combines neurolinguistic programming, cognitive behavioural therapy and other disciplines.
“All these things seemed to be a way of resetting the body system. That week I was up the Eildons. It was pretty fantastic. It was emotional. I kept tearing up. My body feels it’s itself again. And I thought ‘now I don’t have to be here what do I really want to be doing?’
She said: “I saw many small things (kindnesses) – like a card through the door – when I was ill: for them (the people who did these things) it was such a small part of their week, but that was sometimes the thing that got me through that day and reminded me that I was loved and I really want to give that back.”
She then came across the Christian organisation Latin Link which helps people in Latin America who have organised the two-year placement.
Amy’s next fundraiser is a ceilidh at Selkirk High School on Saturday October 20 from 7pm with music by Bedlam, a raffle and food.
She said: “There will be lots of dancing and I’m hoping all ages will come along.”
Tickets £8 or £5 from Amy on 01750 20794, or email: email@example.com. For more information visit www.guatemalacalling.co.uk