For the past 2 weeks, 16 students and 2 teachers from Hove Park School have been on expedition in Swaziland. We started the expedition by helping to develop a Neighbourhood Care Project (NCP) in a deprived rural community. The NCP is used for local vulnerable infants who in most cases have been affected by HIV as Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world despite its small population. The team helped mix cement to build a veranda and new toilet, paint a classroom, teach the students and also help landscape to create a self-sustaining project. The work was really appreciated by the leaders of the project and the local builder celebrated this on our final evening by inviting various families to have dinner with us, as well dancing and congratulating each other.
The second phase of the expedition was a 4-day trek through Ngwempisi Gorge. We had to carry all equipment including tents, cooking utensils and 4 days’ worth of food for 25km through various terrain. The team showed amazing resilience, determination and team work to complete the trek. The days reached temperatures of 28 degrees and the nights dropped right down to -2. The group persevered to complete the trek, even managing to cook delicious meals on an open fire each evening. The team were rewarded with the most perfect accommodation on the final evening at Rock Lodge. A facility sat on a cliff face that had the most spectacular views.
After the trek, we headed to Malolotja to complete the canopy tour. This included 10 zip wires and a suspension bridge over an amazing gorge. The students battled fears of heights by supporting one another down the gorge.
To complete a life changing expedition, we headed to Hlane national park to rest and relax from all of the hard work the team had put in. We participated in 2 safaris, sunset and sunrise, with the hope of seeing the big 5. We were lucky enough to see Rhinos, Hippos, Elephants, Baboons, Lions and many more. We celebrated on our final evening by having our first sit down meal and not having to cook on an open fire. A buffet style dinner was much appreciated by the team and we finished by discussing our personal highlights of the expedition.
I would like to thank all of the students as well as Miss Daynes and our expedition leader (Vanessa) for participating in a truly life changing expedition. The students were inspirational throughout the trip by embracing the culture and giving so much to the lives of so many. The team really grasped the importance of helping others to give more opportunities to succeed. They have had such a positive impact on each other, myself and so many people in Swaziland.