Local school girl Kirby Smith described her recent experiences in Borneo at the October meeting of Soroptimist International.
Kirby accepted the World Challenge in 2015 to join a group of students to help people in a selected village and to take on a grueling five day hike through the jungle.
The World Challenge charity draws Year 10 students from around the world to help villages in developing countries through hands-on activities. The youngsters take on responsibilities; develop leadership skills, resilience and empathy.
Each group is set a task by the village elders. Kirby’s group had hoped they might build a classroom or a well, but were shown how to construct an archway at the entrance to the village. In the end, they were proud of their efforts.
It was school holidays, so there was considerable interaction with the local children. The Australian students not only had to raise the money for their travel and expenses, but also took gifts for the children, and paid for new uniforms for the entire school, as well as school books, stationary and sports equipment.
Kirby, who is a keen cook, gradually worked her way into the kitchen routine, and on the last night helped prepare the meal.
However, when it was served she did not recognize it, and refused her serve.
Kirby said the hike, carrying all their equipment high into the Borneo mountains, was an amazing experience.
One day, they climbed 1.7 kilometres in four hours. That night it poured with rain and their tents were flooded. On the third day they hiked for 11 hours.
Kirby said the view from 3,000 metres was worth the effort.
The group visited an orangutan sanctuary, went scuba diving, white water rafting, and a high ropes course that Kirby said was “really scary”.
She said the climate was trying, the work was exhausting, the hike really was a challenge, and she would not have missed it for anything.
Soroptimist International Murray Bridge was pleased to have been able to assist her.
- Soroptimist International Murray Bridge has welcomed new members. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org