Students build friendships and a school on expedition
GLOBE-TROTTING schoolchildren who lived in Africa for a month are already planning their next trip, this time to Cambodia and Thailand.
For 33 days, 14 students from Monks' Dyke Tennyson College, in Louth, and teachers Nick Barton and Sarah Beaumont, accompanied by an expedition leader from World Challenge, travelled to Mozambique and Swaziland.
The summer expedition was the reward for two years of dedicated fundraising by the college.
During their stay, the students worked hard, undertaking a project to help build a school for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the tiny village of Zembe, in the Manica Province of Mozambique.
They worked alongside the local community and workers from World Challenge, a school-building charity.
The head teacher of the school, Elisabete Fiado-Chivandire, was full of praise for the group, thanking the Louth schoolchildren.
She said: "You answered the call to come all the way down here, hold hands with us and confront the challenges of the jungle."
In addition to the work, they experienced climbing the highest mountain in Mozambique, Mount Binga, which reaches 2,436 metres above sea level.
It straddles the border of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. They also trekked through Ngwempisi Gorge, in Swaziland, by way of acclimatisation.
For some well-deserved relaxation, the students went on safari in the beautiful Gorongosa National Park and their final treat was a day snorkeling with giant whale sharks and manta rays. They also had a close encounter with a pod of hump-backed whales.
Student Katie Wilson said: "The trip has given me independence and made me appreciate things I have in life. I would recommend the trip to anyone as it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Nick Barton, head of geography at the college, has led five of the month-long expeditions to the Third World.
He said: "These expeditions are life-changing for our students in so many ways.
"The skills they develop, the sights they see and the inspirational people they encounter will affect them long after they return home."
Plans are already in place for the college's next expedition, to Cambodia and Thailand in 2014.