The trip of a lifetime appropriately describes this summer’s expedition to Tanzania. Open to all Sixth Formers, the trip combines adventure with community service and gives a great insight to this fascinating part of Africa. It is hosted by the International School in Moshi, which provides comfortable accommodation and organises the busy and varied programme of activities.
Four days were spent doing voluntary work in a primary school where we helped lay foundation for new classrooms and painted and assembled 100 new desks. There was also time to play with the children and learn some Swahili.
We then climbed the peak, Little Meru, 3820 metres. It took us two days to reach the top and a day to get back down again. Everyone reached the summit and enjoyed a challenging adventure in spectacular scenery. Along the way we stayed in mountain huts and a team of 20 porters carried our food and drinking water; we were well looked after.
Two days on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and Lake Manyara National Park gave a more relaxing experience. Riding around in the Land Cruisers was great fun and we were not disappointed with the wildlife, which included lions around a kill, elephants, a raft of wallowing hippo, playful monkeys, numerous zebra and wildebeest.
A highlight of the trip was our visit to the Upendo Orphanage supported by Sidcot students where we were able to deliver useful supplies and spend time meeting the children.
Between these main activities there was also time to join local people planting trees on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, take a dip in the cool water below the Marangu waterfalls, make bracelets with disabled people at a Shanga workshop and visit a Maasai village. There were also lively ‘cultural evenings’ with dancing to the African beat and a visit to the Maasai craft market in Arusha with a chance to try our skills at bartering.
The students accompanied by Philip Perkins, Amanda Brown and Jim Scott and were a credit to the school. They worked hard on the community project interacting with local people with energy and humour. On the mountain some found the walk tough but they showed determination and supported each other.
We are already planning the 2016 expedition which will be from 6 to 20 July. The trip is open to all Sixth Formers. Further information is available from Jim Scott who, with Karen Lovett, will be leading the expedition.