After the success of the previous World Challenge expedition to India, twenty-two eager challengers from Bromsgrove School nervously embarked on a three week adventure this summer to Zambia.
The trip consisted of three phases. The project phase, where groups travelled to Mwandi, a small village consisting of a single tarmac high street, with mud huts dotted around it and beyond that, just the wild African bush. There, the fifth form pupils took on the challenge of helping to build a hut for seventy year old Mary, her eight children and grandchildren. Having transported the water for the mud in barrels, work involved the techniques of mud ‘throwing’ and ‘smoothing’. One of the pupils commented “we threw wet mud at the wall and prayed that it would stick. It took our group of sixteen year olds a day to complete one layer. It took Mary approximately three hours, putting us all to shame!”
The second phase was the hardest of all - the trek phase. Though the beautiful views of the Batoka Gorge and the mighty Zambezi river took the sting out of the four day trek, it was the nights sleeping on sandy beaches and staring at the Milky Way that made the sweat and aching muscles worth it. “It was the true definition of wild camping” a pupil said. “There were zero facilities, other than a brief wash in the Zambezi and cooking on open fires, trying to prevent sand from infiltrating every meal!”
Finally, some much required rest and relaxation in the last week of the trip. The challengers couldn’t leave Zambia without seeing the mighty Victoria Falls, both from the safety of the viewing platforms and zooming past them on a zipwire, trying not to look at the 110m drop into the ‘boiling pot’ below. A sunset river safari was an idyllic way to round off their time in Livingstone.
Commenting on their amazing adventure, a pupil said “if I could pick one thing, the highlight of the trip would be the safari in South Luangwa National Park, where we saw four of the big five. Most notably, we saw a male lion just feet away from the car and watched, as a leopard protected his dinner from a prowling hyena”.
It was a very exciting trip, but also a challenging one. The invaluable skills learned and memories made will remain with the pupils forever.