Mystery expedition to West Africa

Two women will be driving to West Africa with a van-load of supplies to help villagers in need.

Monday, 8th August 2016, 10:50 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:36 pm
Natalia Lotcka (third right) and Racheal Glenn, second right, with representatives from Jinack Project

Natalia Lotcka, who owns Mystery Tea House, in Preston, and primary school teacher Rachael Glenn will start their trip on Tuesday August 16 and hope to arrive by Saturday.

They will distribute their goods to the Gambia and Senegal areas through the Jinack Project, which develops educational links between schools in the UK and West Africa.

This trip will be a trial run, with a much bigger expedition in December.

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Children from West Africa support the Jinack Project

Natalia, 29, who comes from Poland, said: “We want to see if we can get there with the goods we have so far and expand on this for our Christmas trip.

“The first time I went to Gambia was in 2012. It changed my life and I have been back five times since.

“I believe we need to work together to change the inequalities in this world. The conditions they live in are horrendous. These people don’t have anything and we wish to change that.

“Small acts of kindness, multiplied can make a huge difference.

Children from West Africa support the Jinack Project

“Children should be made aware of the inequality in different parts of our world. We aim to develop links between children and teachers in West Africa and the UK by visiting schools to present our project, set up pen-pal schemes through exchanging letters, drawings and videos along with providing fun educational activities.

“Renewable energy and sustainable living is another important part of The Jinack Project and we are helping to build houses that have zero environmental impact on the land we have already bought for community purpose. We aim to empower local people, work alongside them in partnership, improve living conditions and promote and celebrate local cultures and traditions.”

Rachael, 26, of Preston, who owns Conscious Caterpillars meditation and mindfulness for children, is a regular customer at the Mystery Tea House. After finding out about the Jinack Project, she decided to join forces with Natalia.

She said: “We want to raise money for a van to transport donations and gifts to and from the local community in the UK to the community in West Africa.

“It would empower The Jinack Project as it means that we can get the donations directly to the people who need them. We can promote the skills of local people in West Africa as we can bring back local products, materials and crafts to sell in the UK and beyond and put the money straight back into the African communities.

“It also gives us the opportunity to schedule more expeditions to West Africa, where we can bring people over with specific skills and talents.”

Natalia and Rachael are appealing for people to donate items such as blankets, towels, solar powered items, stationery, clothing and craft supplies, to the Mystery Tea House, in Cannon Street, Preston.

The pair are also asking for vehicle hire companies to sponsor them and provide a large van.

UCLAN has offered support, allowing them to store items within their premises and Barclays donated 2,000 pens.

To make a donation, visit