Gateacre take on the Challenge

Four weeks, twenty three students, two countries and one hell of an Adventure!

World Challenge became the 'Gateacre  Challenge' of the summer where we embarked on the trip of a lifetime  at  Manchester Airport flying to  Johannesburg and travelling across to Swaziland and Mozambique.  

We began our expedition with a four day trek across the Malolotja nature reserve absorbing the scenery as we walked and taking on the challenge of wild camping each night. As reward for our efforts we ended the four days with a canopy tour across a valley which certainly raised the teams adrenaline and had us all buzzing with excitement.

A stay at our favourite campsite came next at the Milwane nature reserve where we all agreed we would have like to have stayed for longer. Hot showers and a BBQ seemed liked a luxury and to be surrounded by animals and tremendous views topped off the experience.

Next up we spent six nights camping on the ground of school where we worked during the day. Half the team helped to build a classroom and the other half worked with the children. This was an emotional challenge for us all to see how little the students had, both in school and out of school. There was no resources to teach with at the school at all not even a blackboard.  Even more overwhelming was to see how their lives had been affected by the loss of family members to HIV and Aids and to see our students work alongside the children with positivity and humility was a very proud experience.   It was a very sad day when we waved goodbye to the staff and students that we had formed such strong bonds with  but we have stayed in touch and plan to continue to help however we can.

Time for our next and final four day Trek across the Lubombo Mountain trail, we all agreed that this was the more difficult of the two Treks and we were all physically and mentally spent at the end of it so time for another reward it was and off we went to Kruger National Park for two days of Safari fun! Elephants, giraffes and plenty of Zebras were spotted amongst many more species some of which we had never heard of before!

The final week of adventure we were so excited to  travel across the border to Mozambique and we got to stay in a bed for one night in Maputo,  leaving the tents packed away for a night much to everyone's delight! A pillow and a mattress - words can't describe how we felt!  Very early the next morning we started the 8 hour bus journey to Tofo, a little piece of paradise for us all to enjoy after all of our hard work. Whale watching, beach walks and swimming was the agenda in Tofo and lots of rest and relaxation after such a tremendous month away from home.

 Needless to say we were all so sad to leave Mozambique after spending a week in the sunshine but it was time to board the plane home... The students  anticipation  to see their  family and friends again after limited contact and such a long and eventful trip was clear the entire 16 hours of flying  back home.    Waiting at the school gates were very proud parents ready to congratulate and welcome back their amazing children.... An experience none of us will ever forget! 

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