Kirkcaldy High pupils’ African adventure

The team members in Kenya
The team members in Kenya

DEALING with the challenges of acclimatisation, poor hygiene standards and a mountain climb were all part of “an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime” experience for senior pupils at Kirkcaldy High.

Members of the group have spoken about their summer adventure in Africa, which took place over 16 days from the end of June, as part of a World Challenge expedition.

Eleven S6 pupils and two staff - Fiona Smart, history teacher and Anita Lindsay, business manager - travelled to Kenya,accompanied by World Challenge staff.

As well as climbing Mount Kenya, they worked in one of the country’s nurseries to help improve the lives of the children.

The team took two years to prepare for the trip and raised thousands of pounds to cover the costs.

They arrived in Nairobi and spent several days on acclimatisation treks and working on their project.

They also took part in a special scheme to help build a play area for the nursery.

In the final part of the challenge the team climbed Mount Kenya carrying just the minimal survival materials.

Scott Harper (17), said: “We had to organise everything ourselves and make all the decisions.

‘‘I was in charge of the money along with Kayleigh and this involved making sure we budgeted for food, accommodation and all the living costs for two weeks.

“We also helped to build a wall around the nursery.

‘‘ It was surrounded by a wooden fence which had holes in it so we wanted to build something stronger for the children.’’

Sarah Fawcett (17) said the trip was a culture shock:

“We had to get used to the toilets which were basically a hole in the ground- but the kids were amazing. They knew they didn’t have the best facilities but all they wanted was a hug.”

She said one of the highlights of the trip was reaching the summit of Mount Kenya.

“On one of the days we trekked for 15 hours after just four hours sleep,’’ she added.

‘‘We had to take tablets for the high altitude and it was really cold at the top.”

Sarah added: “I gained a lot from the experience.

‘‘I learned that it’s the little things in life that matter.”

Derek Allan, headteacher, said following the success of the African expedition, the school is planning another World Challenge trip in two years’ time.