This year, Year 8 travelled to the beautiful, serene countryside of Mai Chau for their expedition. The trip commenced on Tuesday October 13th at the very early meeting time of 7.30AM. Despite the early rise spirits were high on the 4 hour coach ride to our first destination which was the homestay in one of the villages in Mai Chau.
Upon arrival the students were organized into their homestay stilt houses and we quickly devoured a delicious lunch before embarking upon our first activity. This involved students working in pairs to complete a challenging course using just one bike and their legs. This helped to build cooperation and teamwork as they had to share turns either bike riding or running over sometimes challenging terrain. The difficult part was also using a very basic map to navigate their way through the 8KM course. However, all made it back (some quicker than others) and were proud of their achievements.
Just when we thought they would have no energy left, the students proved us wrong by partaking in traditional Vietnamese stick dancing after dinner. This was followed by some fun games around the Campfire organised by our wonderful tour providers: Asia Motions.
Day 2 was a busy one. We checked out of the homestay after breakfast and headed to the tranquil Hoa Binh Lake area. From here we travelled by boat to an Island on the lake for a full day of activities. Students were able to take part in all activities, which included: Archery, Kayaking and survival skills. The Kayaking proved particularly enjoyable for some who teamed up with the mischievous tour guides and plotted to tip me out of my kayak fully clothed. I was reminded by the students at this point that my instructions to them were to bring a dry set of clothes (unfortunately i did not take my own advice!!!!).
After a busy and enjoyable day we headed by coach to our second accommodation: Mai Chau Eco Lodge. Due to late arrival, we had a lovely, varied dinner and promptly went to bed to prepare ourselves for the fun to follow on Day 3.
Day 3 involved a challenging trek in the morning of over 10KM. The views that we saw during this trek allowed us a glimpse into the lives of locals living in the surrounding Mai Chau villages in addition to the spectacular scenery from the top of the steep hills. After the trek we were ready for lunch before our final activity where we visited a local school. The tour company had organised a variety of activities that included: dodgeball and juggling amongst others. This gave our students an excellent opportunity to bond and converse with the students in the local area and it was wonderful seeing the two communities coming together. Before we left we donated clothes, books and bags that we had collected during our recent clothing drive. These we are sure will prove very useful to some more underprivileged students in the Mai Chau area. So a big thank you to those families that kindly donated.
Our final night involved an awards ceremony that encompassed both awards for our aide memoire but also for performance in the various activities. This was followed by some wonderful talent and signing on the Karaoke.
We were all sad to leave Mai Chau on day 4. We all had a wonderful (but exhausting) time. Special thanks need to go to Asia Motions and all BIS staff involved in making the trip such a wonderful and memorable experience.
Ms Nicola Witton, Key Stage 3 Coordinator