Even at the orphanage, though, the kids were very poor.
"There were no toys outside to play with except a jump rope that someone must have donated to the orphanage for the children," Salisbury wrote. "One boy named John was a very talented artist. He drew me a picture of an elephant and different animals for the other members of my group to take home. ... But all the children were talented in their own way."
One scary moment during the trip came when one of the group members got word of a terrorist attack in the neighboring country of Kenya. Gunmen killed 67 people over four days in a Nairobi shopping mall. The scare almost had the group leaving early.
"We were trying to get out of there as soon as we could," Salisbury said. "We tried to get a flight home and they were all booked up."
So the group ended up staying for the scheduled length of the trip.
Salisbury said seeing the conditions the children lived in made her emotional. They were affected by how much the children just wanted their attention.
"They were just like literally vying for our attention," York said.
"The children were playing outside on the playground, while others just wanted to be held," Salisbury said. "A lot of kids had running noses, wet clothes, torn up [shoes] and baggy clothes that would not stay on them."
Becky Atkins, a nurse at Williamson Memorial Hospital, said the trip, also her first to Africa, was eye opening.
"It opened my eyes to see how other people live in the world," said Atkins, of Logan. "I'm saddened by the children there without any parents cared for by volunteers who don't even get paid to take care of [them]. It's really heartbreaking."
The women say they were so moved by their experience there that they not only want to travel to Africa again, but they also want to help out in the meantime by sending them items they need.
"We're going to continue to do more," Atkins said. "Right now I'm in the process of sending care packages of gifts for the children."Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.