The Dukeries Academy pupils join team on trek to Machu Picchu
Pupils join team on trek to Machu PicchuA group of seven Dukeries Academy pupils went on the trip of a lifetime over the summer break as they joined a team travelling around the Peruvian Andes.
The pupils formed a greater team of 21 including pupils from two other schools, three teachers and a leader from the organisers, Camps International.
The main focus of the trip, as well as personal development, was to aid poor rural communities by working on projects that were a direct benefit to them. Pupils worked with local professionals and camp staff, and gained experience making adobe bricks and building stables to help protect animals from the harsh climate.
They assisted in plumbing and installing pipes so that communities could have a clean water supply and worked on a cultural centre that was being built to try and help a community develop its tourist infrastructure as well as lay the foundations for a school dining hall.
The pupils developed a lot of friendships and experienced first-hand the rural Andean culture and subsistence living. The experience certainly made them appreciate some of their regular home comforts that they took for granted such as warm showers and convenience shopping.
Alongside supporting the local infrastructure, the pupils took part in a number of cultural activities such as making chocolate and bracelets, learning Spanish and making pottery.
The highlight of the trip was the challenging five-day Salkantay Trek which culminated in the climb up to Machu Picchu at five o'clock in the morning. The pupils also went on a trek to see condors in the wild, of which there are only around 900 remaining.
Accommodation was in tents and dormitories and although food (including Alpaca) was provided, pupils had to take responsibility for their own washing up, washing of their clothes and organisation. Pupils were generally encouraged to stay away from their mobile phones, make limited contact with home and really engage in the experience.
Pupils certainly saw the world from a different perspective, and, as well as the work experience, it helped them develop a sense of independence, maturity, and above all, a taste for travel.
Dukeries Academy pupil Jake Hall, said: "I thought the expedition was great. I made loads of new friends, visited some very interesting places and experienced a culture different to my own."