During the summer 25 students, 4 members of staff and 2 world challenge leaders undertook a great adventure to the foothills of the Himalayas in North India
This was part of World challenge-designed to give young people an experience that would make them face up to the hardships encountered by other cultures and a chance to grow through a leadership role.
It wasn’t just an experience- it was an unforgettable experience with many highlights and quite a few challenges. The physical challenge involved a three day trek along rough terrain in a region called Uttarakhand. Students and leaders camped out in a variety of conditions ranging from heavy monsoon rainfall to humid and strength sapping heat.
As part of the expedition students worked in a small rural village in the Pangok region. They helped make improvements to the housing. This included adding guttering to collect rainwater and building incinerators for clean waste disposal. Students and locals worked together in a real spirit of togetherness. Along the way there was time for some cross cultural “fertilisation”. Everybody joined in some local Hindi “groove” and year 11 prom dancing. The lunches they cooked for us were simple but extremely tasty. Locally grown herbs and spices were used to whip up some culinary delights. A far cry from a big mac or domino’s pizza.
It wasn’t all a great adventure… some parts were a difficult education. The students were not spared from seeing signs of the terrible poverty along many of the streets. The smells and sights around Old Delhi train station will live long in the memory.
We took in a few of the tourist sites including the Taj Mahal and went on safari in the Corbett National Park but perhaps our abiding memory will be of the warmth and humanity shown to us by the local people we encountered.
Mr Jennings the group leader was impressed with all of the students’ performance and added ”this trip wasn’t a holiday it was definitely a challenge. From the outset thy had to raise the money to go themselves.. These youngsters were under pressure for all sorts of reasons but they came through with flying colours and I know that they will treasure this for a great many years to come,”