MIDHURST Rother College students are preparing themselves for another whirlwind adventure.
As pupils prepare their rucksacks for a new adventure in Nepal, departing just before half term, another group is still basking in glory following a phenomenal summer trip.
During the trip to Tanzania, they refurbished school buildings in Gongo, a tiny, remote village north of Dar Es Salam, situated in the middle of a national reserve.
Staff member and one of the tour leaders, Charline Gardner, said: “The organisers, True Adventure, were magnificent, and the sponsorship by Midhurst coffee shop, Café Verdi was so generous.
“We were all very excited about our forthcoming adventure as we boarded the plane, but had no idea that it would turn out to be so fabulous, life affirming and rewarding.
“We were particularly lucky to have in our party sixth former Oliver Van Zwanenberg, who specialises in photography and whose images speak volumes.” The build up to such expeditions takes two years, enabling students to save money not only for the trip itself, but also for their contribution towards their chosen community project, through a wide range of fundraising events.
Fellow tour leader Sally Tidbury said: “The Gongo Primary School had no running water.
“Our students worked very hard from dawn to dusk, collecting water in buckets and kindling for the families, at the same time as renovating the school buildings, creating a safe play area and socialising with the children who were full of fun and very keen to learn.
“Particular highlights were when the musical members of our group taught our hosts ‘Old McDonald’, complete with actions, followed by the biggest game of ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ I have ever seen!”
But it wasn’t all fun. Having completed the refurbishment, the group then faced the challenge of a five day hike 2,500 metres high into the Uluguru Mountain range and its magical rain forest; camping by night, and by day enjoying breath-taking views as they trekked over often treacherous terrain.
During the final leg of the tour students treated themselves to beach and safari time when they picnicked by Lake Nzelekela and chilled with giraffe, hippo, crocodiles, zebra, hyena and lions on the Selous Game Reserve.
Charline said: “I was very proud of our students who returned to the UK very tired and very grubby, but on an amazing high, with an incredible sense of achievement having helped others in their quest to improve education and living conditions in a remote part of the world.
“It was evident to us all that they had also matured as young people and as leaders we couldn’t have been more delighted with our group of dedicated, witty and spirited individuals.”
All photography is courtesy of Oliver Van Zwanenberg, talented sixth former at Midhurst Rother College.
Thanks must also go to Cafe Verdi in Midhurst, who sponsored the incredible trip.