Taieri pupils aim for Africa

Cutting firewood to raise funds for their African trip are Taieri College pupils (back, from left) Kristen Hackfath, Aleisha Adam, Nicola Lord, Sean McDonald, Finn Hodge, Isaac Knowles and (front, from left) Samantha Offen, Anna Gamble, Ashleigh Hammer and Kate Beattie. Photo supplied.
Cutting firewood to raise funds for their African trip are Taieri College pupils (back, from left) Kristen Hackfath, Aleisha Adam, Nicola Lord, Sean McDonald, Finn Hodge, Isaac Knowles and (front, from left) Samantha Offen, Anna Gamble, Ashleigh Hammer and Kate Beattie. Photo supplied.

When a group of Taieri College pupils asked if they could go on a school trip to Africa next year, the staff said, ''yeah sure - but you have to organise it yourselves''.

So 25 pupils are doing just that.

They have split into two groups, and plan to go to Kenya and Tanzania in June and July next year as part of a World Challenge expedition.

Once they reach Nairobi, the two groups will go their own separate ways and follow their planned itineraries.

Taieri College tour co-ordinator Brenton Hackfath said experiencing the culture and way of life of Kenya and Tanzania would be a life-changing event for the pupils, but they would also learn a lot before they even left the school.

The groups were in the process of ''nutting out'' where they want to go, and coming up with a collective agreement on the destinations, he said.

''Essentially, the idea is that the kids run it, and the teachers and the World Challenge leaders go along as back-up, in case things go pear-shaped.

''The kids choose their itinerary, the kids choose the projects that they are going to work on while they're over there - so they do some work with an orphanage or a school - they have a challenge type of exercise like a trek, and the last little bit involves some rest and relaxation - they have a bit of a sight-see.

''I'd be surprised if they didn't want to do a safari at the end of it.''

Mr Hackfath said a lot of the education was in organising the trip.

''A major part of it is the life skill of learning how to budget and learning how to organise where you're going, and working with other people that you wouldn't normally work with.''

The trip follows a similar World Challenge journey by 16 Taieri College pupils in 2012. They organised a successful four-week educational expedition to Botswana and Namibia.

The pupils are among more than 7000 secondary pupils who travel on expeditions every year to one of 50 destinations around the world. Destinations include Africa, Asia, South East Asia, South America and Central America.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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