The last full day of the trip saw the groups reverse from yesterday with one group climbing Taishan and the other doing the outdoor activities.
The Taishan group began the day with a big breakfast before being driven over to a Dai temple. After exploring for a while, the group were told different stories about the history of the temple. They then broke into teams and planned a short drama which had to provide the audience with a moral. There was some interesting acting and some very interesting morals: don't give in to jealousy as it leads to problems was the moral of one group who performed excellently. But perhaps to most appropriate play ended with the moral: don't forget your waterbottle on Taishan!
After this, we took the bus to the mountain entrance. We did not have the time (or the energy!) to hike the whole mountain so we drove up to about halfway. Everyone chose a walking buddy and we set off. There were steps. Then more steps. Then some more steps. Followed by some steps! 4000 steps in total and there were some very steep sections on the climb. We walked in three main groups, but the students mostly walked at their own speed. The quickest group arrived at the top in about an hour and a half and the rest of the students arrived over the next hour.
It was a very challenging climb and some students bounced up while others struggled. One of our group found it very difficult going and quickly fell to the back of the group. With the teachers and students help, he was cheered and encouraged up the mountain - it was clear every step was hard work, but he worked away and made it to the top. Another student stopped and felt she couldn't go on with about 600 steps to go - but when she was told the re were lollipops at the top, she found a sudden burst of energy and raced up the mountain!
At the top, the students wrote some poetry to describe their thoughts and feelings about the climb and what it meant to them. Most poems mentioned tired legs, but some spoke of the feeling of achievement when meeting a challenge.
The climb down was hard, but we were rewarded with a buffet meal in restaurant which the students took full advantage of. We then returned to the hotel and the students were asked to talk about someone on the trip who had helped them or they thought deserved recognition. One student gave a shout out to the Beijing Hutong staff for helping, which was a lovely gesture.
But the best cheer came when someone nominated the boy who had struggled up the hill - everyone gave him a huge round of applause and he couldn't stop grinning!
Then it was time for bed. It is an early start tomorrow to begin our journey home to Beijing.
Update from Mr. Jim Hartland, Assistant Head of Secondary
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