Day 1: The first day in Tanzania
We took 30 hours to get to Tanzania. We went to Qatar first then we rested in a hotel that was unbelievably nice although the room was very cold. Because we arrived too late, we only had 2 hours of sleep before we had to wake up and go to the airport. Then it was 6 hours till Tanzania. Almost immediately, we proceeded to the camp. Saying that the camp is nice is an understatement because it is gorgeous and we enjoyed the bed so much that Leo slept right away.
The next day was a busy day. We woke up at 6 and started to prepare ourselves to do some hard labour. We went to a local primary school while the other group went on safari. We built the windows and plastered the wall with cement.
After lunch, we divided ourselves into two groups, one group had to clean and make the local teachers' area good enough to live in and the other group continued the labour in the morning. We did the most painful job with Ha Noi and Quoc Anh. We did some pick axing and spading. Our job was to level a small hill while covering a hole in the ground. Others pulled out the nails from wooden planks or went "broomsticking".
We had a break with the children in the school. We brought a football and played together. They enjoyed it and so did we. After that we returned to the camp in the rain. Leo once again slept in the beautiful tent. Some showered, some swam and some played volleyball together. And now that Mr Toner reminded us, we are writing this blog post 5 minutes before the deadline! It has been a brilliant first day despite the tiredness of hard labour. - Leo and Son Ha
We have finally made it! After a 30 hour journey which included a stop in Bangkok, a brief hotel visit in Doha and another quick stop on a paradise island, the students have arrived at Shamba Kipara camp.
On the final leg of the journey, British International School Hanoi was joined by the Nord Anglia Chinese International School and Nord Anglia International School Al Khor from Doha. The students are already getting to know each other well.
We arrived at camp and were fed very well. The camp itself is amazing and our students are going to be very comfortable over the next week.
Students showered and were in bed for 10pm for some much needed sleep!
Today, the girls are on safari and boys are constructing classrooms in the local village.
I will update you with more information but please check back everyday to learn about our students' experiences in their own words. - Martin Toner
Day 2 and 3: Here is the Tanzania update from the girls' group
Days two and three took the girls' group to Tarangire national park to experience African Safari.
On the first day we encountered a variety of animals including elephants, impala, ostriches and luckily a hunting female lion! Later on we watched a beautiful orange and pink sunset at our 'wild camp' with elephants passing near by.
We met the following sunrise by heading out of the camp for another morning safari complete with giraffes, more elephants, waterbuck and two adolescent male lions. During the safari the students surveyed the animals to provide the park with migration patterns.
After lunch we heading to a community project providing work for disabled Tanzanians where they create beautiful artwork made from recycled glass. The girls tried their hand at beading producing some impressive Maasai bracelets.
Tomorrow we are heading to a community to build smokeless stoves, goat sheds and solar lights.
On the second day, we ate a nutritious breakfast of vegetables and meat. After we had breakfast, we went to a local school in a rural area. The weather was really hot and dry. We had two classrooms to build and we were separated into two groups. Some people carried lots of baskets of water and cement. Other students used cement to cover the wall in the classrooms. Students also made cement by mixing water, sand, and cement powder. As we worked together and helped each other, we made huge progress. We look forward to Tanzanian students making a great effort in the new classrooms. -Ji Min BYUN
It's been a tiring couple of days for the boys. They have been constructing primary classrooms at Nazareti Primary School. We are assisting a charity called Seeway Tanzania and they have been doing some wonderful work here.
The boys have been plastering the walls, levelling the ground and preparing cement for construction. They have maneged to plaster two classrooms so far.
I have been very impressed with the boys so far, they have been putting the aide-memoir into action. They have been persevering in hot and dry conditions, lifting heavy equipment and working very hard. They have shown they are caring by working as hard as they can to ensure the local children have somewhere suitable to learn. They have also been reflecting on the trip, demonstrating an awareness of the impact they have on the local community. These are all key characteristics for the CAS programme.
The girls are still on Safari and return this evening. Ms Evans will update you on their experience
We will go on the Safari tomorrow and I know the boys are very excited about what they will see.
Day 4: Here is the update on the safari from the students.
We woke up very early to start our safari journey. The trucks were massive! The entire 4 hour drive to the safari park was an adventure in itself, there was rain, breeze and non-stop bumps on he road.
After the drive, we stopped for lunch and then started the experience that we will remember forever. We emerged into the wild! The first animals we saw were elephants, followed by baboons, giraffes and impalas. The scenery was amazing. We loved how the savannah was untouched by humans and completely natural.
Some of the highlights were a female lion crossing the road in front of our truck; when a family of baboons were grooming each other; standing at the front of the truck (with an open ceiling) was like a rollercoaster ride! You had to watch out for branches and duck when you passed under one.
We ended our first day arriving at a beautiful camp that is literally in the middle of nowhere! Well, that might be the beauty of it - being separated from the modern world.
36 hours away from our phones was a struggle sometimes, but because of that we got the fullest experience of being in nature. This will be something that we remember. There will be great stories to tell, awesome memories to reflect on and an experience to keep for life. - Mai Phuong and Phuong Anh
Here is the update from the girls for Tanzania day 4. The boys and Martin are on Safari and will update when they get back!
Day four for the girls saw us waving off the boys on their safari and then gathering to reflect on sustainable development and what that means. Our students came up with some interesting ideas and they will be reflecting on this concept as they work with Tanzanian communities over the next four days.
We then visited a primary school that had been worked on by previous Nord Anglia cohorts, seeing the impact of the work we are doing at a later stage and that it truly is sustainable.
Lunch was at a local orphanage and then on to 3 houses in the local community where our students really got stuck in with the construction of a goat shed and and providing solar lighting for homes that had no electricity and no income.
I was incredibly proud to see our students putting in such hard work for desperately poor people and reflecting on how they can use these new found skills in Vietnam and beyond.
The boys have returned from their adventure safari and we saw a variety of wildlife on the African plain. A particular highlight was the sunrise over the Tarangire National Park.
Another highlight was going head to head with an elephant. He was charging at us and we were very scared; luckily we manged to avoid him. I think he was taking out his anger on us as he'd just lost a fight with his rival.
I've never seen so many elephants; there must have been at least 40 in this particular herd. However we could see them all over Tarangire.
As we were having lunch, Son ha was joined by an uninvited guest; a cute little monkey. This guest should really learn table manners because without any warning, he stole Son Ha's lunch and ran off - how rude!
Unfortunately, we never managed to see any big cats but we did see other wildlife, including many warthogs. Our guide told us that warthogs are not the smartest in the animal kingdom. He informed us they have a very short memory and when they are being chased by lions, they hide. They quickly forget they are being chased, come out of hiding and nature then takes its course.
We camped in the national park with no fences or gates to protect us. It was very scary and I thought I heard some wildlife outside of my tent but soon realised it was one of the boys snoring in the tent next to mine!
We are now about to begin our final project which will be building goat sheds and installing solar lights - I'm sure the group will work extremely hard in the final few days.
They have been a credit to British International School Hanoi and should be proud of how they have conducted themselves on this expedition.
We are back in Hanoi safe and sound.
After another long journey we finally arrived at Noi Bai airport.
The students have been fantastic and really should be proud of themselves. Teachers from other schools had commented on the excellent behaviour and enthusiasm of BIS students.
It really has been an excellent trip and one I will remember for a very long time and I am sure our students won't forget it.
Our Year 10 students are heading straight to Sa Pa Saturday morning for their International Award qualifier and I wish them good luck!