During the summer holidays, Mr Mountain accompanied seven Year12 students on a month long trip to Nepal, courtesy of the expedition provider World Challenge.
As a combined group of 18, with one teacher and eight students from Wellington College, we embarked on a twelve-day trek around the Annapurna Conservation Sanctuary to go up to Annapurna Base Camp and did six days of service at Basic Belsi School.
At Annapurna Base Camp we reached an altitude of 4130m, which is higher than Mount Cook’s peak (3724m). At Basic Belsi School, we interacted with the staff and students while we worked on building a compound wall behind the school, to separate the school grounds from farmer’s crops, and cleaning and painting two of the classrooms to make them more stimulating learning environments for the children.
We were also able to do sightseeing in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan. Sights we saw included Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple) and the Chitwan National Park.
With support from a group leader sent from World Challenge as well as in-country agents, we were in great hands. For the month the students were given full responsibility to organise matters including the budget, food, transport and accommodation with only minimal input from the teachers. Needless to say, we learned and experienced a lot during this month.
Going to Nepal was an eye-opening experience for us. From the beautiful sights to the friendly people, something stuck with each of us. This opportunity was a gift that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.