A GROUP of Largs Academy pupils made lasting friendships on the trip of a lifetime to visit their partner school in Malawi.

Nine pupils travelled over 8,000 miles to Mzambazi's secondary school after welcoming six pupils from the Africa village to their campus last November.

The local pupils and teachers learned how to carry buckets of water on their heads, danced, sang and played Malawian games - as well as learning to speak their native language of Tumbukan.

Sixth year pupil Emily Blair said: "When we arrived we were greeted in a way we could have never of expected.

"As we were pulling into the village of Mzambazi, we looked out of the window and seen all of Mzambazi’s Secondary School students running towards us cheering.

"When we saw this we jumped out of the van and ran towards them, embracing as we met in the middle of the hill.

"It was extremely emotional that they were so welcoming and excited to meet nine strangers. There are not many words for powerful moments like these."

Emily said one of the highlights of the trip was attending Mass in the village.

She said: "It was amazing to see the joy in the church. It really proved to us that although they may not be rich financially, they are rich with happiness and faith.

"We also taught them Scottish songs and our own choir numbers, which we performed for them."

Pupils had to raise £600 each to go on the trip, which they done by selling baked goods and holding fundraisers.

The pupils also took time to visit the nursery in Mzambazi and met Grace, a youngster they had sponsored several years ago.

Emily added: "To see how much progress she has made, and the impact her adoption has made on her life, was extremely humbling and emotional.

"For many of us, Grace reminded us how important our partnership is and how much of an impact this can make on the people of Mzambazi’s lives.

"We loved meeting the children and babies of Mzambazi too.

"The primary school children would meet us every night for games of football which really helped us bond with everyone.

"We made lifelong friends who made a real impact on us."