The Bachelorette brought gifts for kids in Ghana, where her fiancé helps provide fresh water

By Monica Rizzo
Updated August 04, 2012 02:00 PM
Courtesy of People Water

Just days after The Bachelorette fans saw Emily Maynard accept Utah entrepreneur Jef Holm’s heartfelt proposal on the season finale, the happy couple boarded a plane to visit several villages in Ghana, where his company, People Water, funded well projects.

“Emily and I spent a week visiting different villages around Ghana that have recently received fresh water wells,” Holm told PEOPLE upon the couple’s return to the U.S. on Friday. “We typically visited two villages a day and spent some time interacting with the villagers.”

Through Holm’s company’s partnership with Generosity Water, the well projects, Holm explains, have been underway since 2010.

“People Water has each well completed before we arrive, which means the digging and labor is done and we’re ready to turn on the water,” he said. “We visited the villages, met and celebrated with the people who will be drinking from the wells and played with the children.”

“One of our first conversations that very first night [on The Bachelorette] was when I told him I want to go on a mission trip,” Maynard told PEOPLE. “I didn’t know what he did at the time and it turns out they were planning one at the end of July.”

Holm says his fiancée wasn’t just along for the ride. The minute Maynard, who’s a mom to 7-year-old Ricki, heard that the trip would entail meeting many children in Ghana, her maternal instincts kicked into overdrive.

“It wasn’t enough for her to just show up with the People Water crew and sit on the sidelines,” Holm says. “She brought the biggest suitcase I’ve ever seen full of dolls, toys, books and bubbles for the kids in every village. Emily was by far the most loved person on the trip.”

And this is just the beginning, Holm says: “We’re both looking forward to helping more people around the world and a lifetime of adventures together.”