Pupils help to build school in Venezuela

NOT every teenager would want to spend their summer holiday trekking in extreme heat and helping to build a school on the other side of the world.

However a group of 15 sixth years from Douglas Academy travelled to Venezuela to do just that this summer, accompanied by teachers Simon Neill, Claire Mitchell and group leader, Luke Emms.

After touching down at Caracas Airport, the group were whisked off on a bus through the shanty towns and while they were stuck in the traffic they saw women with baskets on their heads walking up the motorway to sell their ‘arepas’ (food).

Their first task was a trek through the Henri Pittier National Park and no-one had anticipated how difficult it would be.

It took three days, reaching heights of 2000 feet in sauna-like conditions but despite the struggle they pulled together and kept each other motivated - and all thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing session on the beach afterwards.

Next, they took a two hour boat journey from the nearest village to the heart of the Orinocco Delta where they set up camp to help the Warao tribe build a school and drainage system.

For most, this was probably the most rewarding thing they had ever achieved. Playing with the children, learning local crafts and teaching the community ‘I am the music man’ provided them with valuable life lessons and priceless happy memories.

The next trek was a lot less stressful, despite long hours of trekking, cut hands, sun burn and some less than sanitary toilet conditions, the group made it to the world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls.

To round it all off they went on a plane journey in a very small aircraft and a relaxing sea kayaking expedition in the crystal clear waters at Playa Colorado.

Chilling in their hammocks while contemplating the life-changing experience was the perfect end to this adventure.