A life-changing adventure in Nepal has given 23 pupils from Mount Aspiring College a greater understanding of the world.
They have recently returned from a month-long trek to Mt Everest base camp, plus volunteering at local schools in Kathmandu.
The pupils were in two teams, led by teachers Jane Watson-Taylor and Dan Cullen.
The trek to Mt Everest base camp was a challenge, pupil Nikita Sinclair said.
Carrying their own day packs, with yaks to help carry bigger packs, the trip took 16 days, beginning with warm 20degC temperatures at the town of Lukla, but turning to minus 20degC as they got closer to the base camp.
On the way back they got stuck in a snowstorm.
Negotiating rocks and slippery surfaces, the pupils could hardly see in front of them as it got dark, she said.
“We had to walk back in the dark, in the snowstorm.”
Pupil Billea-Nova Chin-Nyika said volunteering at the school was “completely eye-opening”.
The pupils painted several classrooms and also built a wall around the school.
They brightened up the interior with murals, giving the school children a touch of New Zealand.
“One half was [a map] of New Zealand, and then we did some korus down the bottom.”
In the evening they played with children from the village.
“We played football and things like that.”
The work was a challenge, with long hot days – “everybody was quite drained by the end of it”.
It was an eye-opener for the pupils – living at the school and having “bucket showers”, which were literally just a bucket of water and a drain.
However, it was rewarding being able to contribute something to children who had just “the bare essentials”, she said.
The pupils agreed seeing how people lived in other parts of the world provided them with a greater understanding of how they could help others.
“In New Zealand, we are stuck in such a bubble in way,” Billea-Nova said.