July 14th marked the beginning of the Saint Nicholas School expedition to Borneo. The four week trip was years in the planning and, after numerous jabs and trips to Go Outdoors, the group were finally ready for the off.
After an early morning meet and a couple of flights, the team arrived in Kota Kinabalu. This was to be the first and last location and it presented a glimpse of the cultural journey that they were about to embark upon.
Throughout the four weeks the team took part in a number of projects including community work, a jungle trek and a spot of local dancing. The community work consisted of building work, plastering, concreting, teaching and reforestation; the team worked to the bone and did the school and their parents proud. Whilst staying at the community camps, they were able to witness what life was really like for a large proportion of Bornean citizens and this created some moments of reflection and gratitude for their lives back home.
The five day jungle trek was somewhat a challenge but, through tears of laughter and muscle pain, everyone made it through. They were in charge of erecting their own hammocks and slept in them come rain or shine, and were privy to the jungle orchestra (some very loud frogs). To make things even better, the group were record breakers for time taken to walk to the next camp each day. The team really pulled together to support and motivate each other.
They also experienced the Sabah tea plantation where they stayed for two days, post jungle survival, for a little rest and relaxation and to their delight, some proper showers and beds. They also treated themselves to a spot of afternoon tea, not quite the Ritz but the view was sensational. There were too many highlights to begin to list but one morning, on a sleepy boat ride down the river, pupils were lucky enough to experience the orangutans in the wild which was a truly awe-inspiring moment.
It is difficult to put into words the impact that this life changing experience had on everyone as individuals but it is safe to say that everyone involved in the trip learnt something new about themselves. It was a fantastic experience.