The summer saw 60 students and 6 staff undertake a month long expedition to Kenya to take part in a life changing adventure that would see everyone grow and develop.
The trip took the students two years to plan and fund raise for, through various events such as half marathons, open water swims, bake sales and car washes. The aim of the trip was to take part in an ethical journey with impact and this was certainly met and exceeded.
Students seized every opportunity to fully immerse themselves in every opportunity and got well and truly stuck in to the community and environmental project work. Community work included refurbishing classrooms, beach clean ups, tree nursery generation, environmental awareness projects, football pitch creation, river bank reinforcement and building toilet blocks. The buzz around the projects was tangible and students approached the tasks with determination and purpose. The work was both physically and mentally demanding and most days students would return from their projects tired and blistered but most importantly with huge smiles on their faces with lots of stories pouring from their lips about the people they had met, the projects they were working on and the new things they had experienced.
There was a no phone policy on the trip and although an initially difficult situation with students reluctant to part from their modern technology there was soon a change in feelings towards their devices and most developed a new insightful approach to their use of their devices and especially their use of social media. Many students commented on their reliance to social media before the trip and their new found sense of freedom and relief from not using their phones for a month away.
The mountain phase of the expedition was a real highlight for most on the trip. It involved a day trek with the aim of summiting the tallest mountain in Kenya and the second tallest mountain in Africa; Mount Kenya. Point Lenana on the mountain sits at 4985m and was the goal point. As can be imagined a walk to this height was never going to be easy and the teams faced not only physical and mental tiredness to battle with but also the effects of altitude. The determination of the group was valiant, they worked as a team to push each other along and keeping the spirits of those finding it hard up. One of the teams was lucky to summit and were treated to incredible and surreal views however, due to heavy snow fall the second team were unable to reach the summit and instead had to play a rather intense snowball fight in Africa.
All of the students were an absolute credit to the school and formed friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. They learnt to encourage each other in tough times, keep an eye out for each other and work in teams in challenging situations. The students demonstrated huge improvement in their personal skills and their approach to tasks and general day-to-day life and deepened their skills in teamwork, resilience and independence. The experiences they had will be carried with them for a long time to come and will positively influence their decisions and outlook. In feedback received from the students they all took a great deal of inspiration, perspective and motivation from the trip along with commenting on a change in their outlook to life and their experiences.
To see the rest of the images from our Kenya trip please click here
Report by Miss Thompson (Team Leader)