During the summer holidays, a group of intrepid Sixth Formers embarked on an adventure of a lifetime in Tanzania.
South Hampstead’s annual expedition with the organisation World Challenge provides the opportunity for Sixth Form students to get involved with social action projects and venture off the beaten track. Students are encouraged to raise money to fund the trip themselves and to plan elements of the trip independently. This year, a group embarked on a three-week trip: trekking, camping, and working with local communities on an afforestation project in rural Tanzania. Media & PR Captain, Georgie, reports back on the experience:
‘After lengthy preparations (how we would deal with camping and the lack of toilet facilities!) and lots of lively debate about whether we would use our phones on the trip, seven Lower Sixth students headed off from Heathrow on the first day of the summer holidays, accompanied by Mr White, Director of Sixth Form, and Kathryn, our World Challenge leader .
The trip began when we landed in Moshi, a town in Northern Tanzania near the Kilimanjaro National Park. Arriving in Tanzania was a surreal experience. On our way to settle for our first night in the campsite, the view of Kilimanjaro poking out of the cloud was spectacular. But we soon came back down to earth: setting up tents, cooking our first dinner, managing budgets, and allocating roles and responsibilities for the days ahead. We visited hot springs, but the highlight was camping near the Ngorongoro Crater and going on a safari, where we lucky enough to see lions, elephants and zebras.
We then went onto Lushoto to start our 5-day trek and conservation experience in the Usambara Mountains – one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The journey there was beautiful as town life morphed into stunning views of mountains, trees and sightings of monkeys! We set off on our trek, which offered amazing views, rich history from our guides, and some light complaining of ‘my legs are tired’ and ‘how much more uphill?’ After completing 5 days of trekking, we stayed in Lushoto to do some nature conservation work. From avocado tree grafting to seed factories and coffee grinding dances, we learnt a lot about life and sustainability in the local community.
Finally, before the trip came to an end, we travelled to Dar es Salam, Tanzania’s financial hub, where we boarded our ferry to Zanzibar for some relaxation on the beach. We snorkelled, visited markets, took a boat trip, and even got to meet some tortoises.
No question the trip was tough at times. We had few creature comforts and our own beds at home felt a very long way away. But with the support of Mr White, it was never too hard and what we gained was far greater. We shared experiences and deepened friendships that will last a very long time.’
Plans are already underway for next year’s World Challenge expedition, when another group of Sixth Formers will venture to Tanzania, supporting a local project focusing on women’s health.