AFTER two years of planning and fund raising, students have finally been on the adventure of a lifetime.
Fourteen students from Kesteven and Sleaford High School, accompanied by member of staff Louise Jones, set off on the Vietnam and Cambodia World Challenge Expedition at the start of the summer holidays for the four-week trip, trekking through jungles, working in a small Cambodian village and fending for themselves in the most rural of environments.
After two seven-hour flights they arrived at Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh City, where they spent the next day exploring, assigning roles and sourcing food, accommodation and transport for their trip.
A few days later the group arrived in Cat Tien national park and embarked on a two-day 15km acclimatisation trek, where they had to contend with the heat, no clean water and mosquitos.
Next they headed to an area in the Central Highlands called Dalat for a five day trek, before spending a few days at the Nha Trang beach resort for a few days’ rest.
Student Emily Crookes said: “It was nice to have a little bit of luxury after five days in a tent and we were all definitely glad to see proper toilets and running water!”
Afterwards they took a sleeper train back to the capital before catching a six-hour boat ride to Cambodia, arriving in Phnom Penh where they visited the Royal Palace and the Killing Fields.
Emily described their thoughts: “We were all quite shocked at man’s inhumanity to man and it was very educational. We also visited the S-21 Museum, an old high school that became torture chambers during the time. This was also very shocking.”
Next the group travelled onto Siem Reap where they worked for Cambodian Orphan Save Organisation, spending the week digging building foundations, mixing cement by hand, bricklaying, teaching at a local school and buying and preparing food for lunch.
The students really enjoyed this week, and were very sad to leave but felt good to be part of such a great, worthwhile project that still had many hopes and ambitions for the future. On the last day in Siem Reap, they visited temples including Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, where Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed, and topped off the trip with a visit to the night market before travelling back home.
Emily concluded: “As a group, we had a fantastic experience in Vietnam and Cambodia. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and bonded well as a team. We all learnt new things about ourselves and would definitely want to return again.” They thanked everyone who supported their adventure.