Immediately after the celebrations that marked the end of the academic year, a group of 21 pupils from across the Fifth and Sixth Forms went on a life-changing trip to Malawi. The focus of the trip was to learn more about the way in which Malawians are responding to the incredible challenges facing them as a consequence of extreme poverty and climate change. To this end, placements were arranged with two community action projects, one focusing on sustainable agriculture and the other on development through sport.
The first project, called Ecolodgy, taught pupils about the principles of permaculture, no-dig planting and soil conservation. Following the destruction of homes in Typhoon Freddy, and anticipating more such weather, the group learnt how to build walls using a bamboo frame packed with mud and clay. From Ecolodgy, the group headed to Mount Mulanje and climbed the steep Chapaluka trail, spending the night at the foot of the second-highest peak, Chambe. The (fool)hardiest members of the group spent the night literally under the stars, ignoring the freezing temperatures in order to enjoy the incredible night sky. The group then visited Liwonde, a beautiful National Park where, on a morning safari drive, they spotted a lioness basking in the sun, as well as a number of elephants, various types of antelope and warthogs.
The final stage of the trip was spent with the Bhubesi Pride Foundation which aims to provide children with the opportunity to take part in sports – specifically rugby and netball – and fills a gap that exists in the lives of many Malawian children. Two weeks flew by in a flurry of activity, each day offering something different. Challenges were overcome, relationships forged, and memories created that will last a long time.