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World Challenge 2017 - Morocco

Mr Heathcote reports:

"Fourteen of our current year 11 students had the fantastic opportunity to visit Morocco in July 2017, having successfully managed to raise the money for this World Challenge expedition. The trip included trekking in the Atlas Mountains, a project in a Berber village school and cultural experiences in the world famous city of Marrakech. Throughout the expedition the students took on leadership roles and were responsible for the itinerary, transport, budget and food arrangements.

The voluntary stage was based in the Berber village of Gliz nestled into the hillside of the Oussertek Valley, with a population of 200. Students undertook a variety of tasks at the village primary school called Ecole Imzour. Ecole Imzour has suffered water damage due to flooding and some of the classrooms have very damp conditions. The school also lacks adequate heating, which results in pupils having to wear big jackets, gloves and hats in class during winter. Unfortunately only a small percentage of pupils continue on to secondary education, 10% to be precise, and no females from this community have ever continued on to university.

The students excavated a 30m long deep trench around the school and filled it with concrete they had mixed with cement and sand they had carried. They constructed walls around the school with stones they had collected from the hillside. They also renovated the gardens around the school in order to strengthen the soil and cleared up the current area of land used as a rubbish area. With money left from the budget they paid for heaters in classrooms and a boiler in the teacher's living quarters. These task were all done in the 30ᵒC + plus heat of the Moroccan summer.

The challengers also had the positive experience of staying with a Berber family during the project phase, learning about local customs and cuisine, including Berber Tea and Tagines.

This was followed by a 4 day trek through the stunning high Atlas Mountains. The students dealt fantastically with the challenging terrain, steep slopes and high temperatures. They reached a height of 3300m after an early morning start. During this phase of the expedition the students were staying in tents and carrying day sacks with their essential items and safety kit.

To finish the trip the students had the opportunity to spend a day in the amazing city of Marrakech with its world heritage sites. The opportunity to haggle in the souks was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the students embraced the opportunity with both hands, some developing skills for a future career in business clearly. Unfortunately the trip was over all too quickly and we returned to Bradon during the summer holidays with many stories to tell, photos to show, souvenirs to share and blisters to heal.

Full gallery can be found here