Two members of the Rotary Club of Birstall Luddites are preparing to leave all creature comforts behind as they join humanitarian projects in Africa and South Asia.
President Bill Hildred will spend three weeks in the remote Tanzanian island of Ukerewe, while fellow member Mike Webster will volunteer on various projects in Nepal for five months.
Mr Hildred, 62, is one of 18 volunteers travelling out to Tanzania in November on a trip led by members of Mirfield Rotary Club.
He said: “I’ve done a few small local projects and I’ve been very fortunate in my working life.
“I’ve still got reasonably good health and I thought ‘why not?’ I can’t just sit at home watching daytime TV.”
On Saturday, Mr Hildred and other volunteers loaded a 40ft containers with tools, medical equipment and other materials donated by local people and firms in support of the project in Ukerewe.
Tasks to be completed by the volunteers include repairing a pump at a water station, supplying educational materials, installing solar lighting to help children with their homework and setting up irrigation systems to help improve conditions for farmers.
But the focus of the visit will be refurbishing a ward at the hospital in the island’s biggest settlement, Nansio.
Mr Hildred, who lives inBatley, said: “John Philip, who is leading the trip, said the hospital is like a glorified house. They’ve got nothing.
“We’re told it’s very basic where we’ll be staying too. I don’t doubt it’s a lot different to here and anywhere I’ve been before. I’m looking on it as an adventure.
“I’m very apprehensive about it, but I’m going into it with open eyes.”
Mr Webster said he expected to encounter similar challenges during his time volunteering with the Tilden Project Nepal in Aruchour.
He said: “There’s no running water, no heating and only two footprints over a hole in the ground for sanitation.
“I imaging the other Rotarians probably think I’m mad, but I’m 74 and if I don’t do it now I never will.”
Mr Webster, who lives in Wakefield, will spend a month over Christmas at an orphanage and the rest of the time supporting the charity’s projects in the region.
These include various education programmes, work to introduce smokeless stoves to reduce lung diseases, and sanitation projects.