We travelled by bus from Hanoi to Lao Cai and then swapped our large bus for some smaller buses to get to our home stays in the village of Ban Ho. Wednesday was a very active day. The students participated in 'the amazing race'. This involved the four house groups navigating themselves around the village and surrounding countryside using clues given to them after a series of games and challenges. What a superb day surrounded by phenomenal scenery!
The day started off a little damp but soon brightened up in the early afternoon. The students worked superbly in house teams. Hanoi easily won the race, miles ahead of the other 3 houses as a result of fantastic teamwork. In the evening, we had a very interactive quiz laid on by Mr Perry and Ms Giang. On Thursday, we visited the local primary school which is home to over 120 students who come from distant villages which means that they have to sleep at the school from Monday to Saturday. The contrast between the facilities here and our school in Hanoi was astronomical. We watched some excellent performances from the local students and then competed in several games. The atmosphere was superb. Our students then kindly distributed the many gifts and donations they had brought with them from Hanoi. The gratitude from the local students was beautiful to see.
After lunch we went further down into the village, to the home of some rice farmers. There we worked in teams to plant rice to see who was the fastest. We were almost knee deep in mud! Inevitably, of course, it ended up in a mud fight; huge fun! Afterwards, we walked down to the river to clean up. The students learnt how energy-consuming rice cultivation can be and hopefully will not waste rice in future! In the evening, we were treated to an amazing BBQ (which included a suckling pig) and were able to watch some traditional performances by the local people. The students have had an amazing time and have been a credit to our school and indeed their parents. As well as the social skills that have been developed by the students, we have gathered a lot of useful geographical case study information which we can apply back in the classroom after the Easter break.
Mr Phil Stanier - Geography Teacher