Carl Frampton and wife deeply moved by suffering of poor during charity mission to Kenya
Carl Frampton has said the "heartbreaking" poverty he witnessed during a trip to Kenya will stay him for the rest of his life.
The Belfast boxer and his wife Christine went to the east African country to see work being carried out by Trocaire as part of the Irish charity's Christmas Appeal.
The couple - who are parents to Carla (6) and three-year-old Rossa - spent a week travelling around Kenya, visiting communities supported by donations.
Frampton said he was shocked by the suffering of the country's people.
"It was a short trip to raise awareness of Trocaire's Christmas Appeal, but for us the memories will stick with us for the rest of our lives," he said.
"The suffering, the squalor and poverty that so many are enduring is heartbreaking, but then on the other side, there is the great work that is being done.
"One thing I will never forget was when one guy was explaining about how this small gel-like package which turned out to be mushed up oils and nuts would be very good for them and this toddler, about three, came up to him begging for it. I'd never seen anything like it."
The Framptons visited Kalcol, where an emergency food and medical supplies distribution centre is situated.
"The first thing we saw was a woman with HIV breastfeeding her eight-month-old baby who weighed just nine pounds, and at that point Christine just broke down," Carl wrote in his Sunday Life column.
"Amazingly, because of the treatment the woman had been receiving, the baby was HIV free and the doctor was actually pleased with how the baby was doing, because he had put on weight and he was confident that the baby would survive.
"So, right away, we were hit up the face by the reality of the problems and how support Trocaire brings to the community can quite literally be the difference between life and death."
The Framptons were stunned by the divide between rich and poor in Kenya.
"It all seemed so bleak, and yet at the same time you could see a sense of a community, just like I would have seen in a tough working class area like Tigers Bay - and they had a boxing club which is always packed," he said.
"It was a tin hut with a piece of carpet on the ground for a ring. They had asked the local council man for some equipment and ended up with two pairs of MMA gloves and a set of pads, that was it, and while we were waiting, a rat ran up the wall."
Frampton recalled one story of a social worker, Veronica, who at 10 had been taken into care after being forced into prostitution.
He explained: "She is now married with three children of her own, working to help others and her youngest was a three-year-old daughter called Rossa, and obviously that hit home hard at just how fortunate we all are in this part of the world."