The Zanzibar trip is back! Alex and Nadia took a group of eager students on an experience of a lifetime, this summer. Staff and students witnessed this beautiful East African location where they explored the ocean as well as the fascinating culture they found themselves in, during their stay.
Staff and students from many different departments across the college took a once in a lifetime trip to the exotic island of Zanzibar. The trip was the first time many of the students had been to a developing country and helped introduce them to a different type of ecosystem, as well as a vast and established culture. Allowing them to see first-hand what they’ve only ever learnt about or maybe even dreamt of.
Initially in Stonetown, the students and staff stayed at a garden lodge, a hotel right next to a beautiful beach. They jumped, swam and snorkelled, in the amazing location.
With the trip being run by the Global Action group, students were encouraged to investigate the ecological elements of the exciting area and conduct surveys there too, even comparing types of coral from different areas of the ocean. All this adding to an invaluable experience, combining important research and fun that will hopefully inspire follow up careers in environmental science.
And yes it was fun too! Becoming accustomed to a bean-centred diet might’ve taken some getting used to, but meeting the community and taking out hand-screwed, wooden boats across to the water to jump off – unforgettable.
The fundraising for the exotic trip began last college year. The students participated in local bag-packs, as well as successful bake-sales within college, to raise the money they needed for their supplies and kits when they travelled.
Their hard-work prior to the trip truly paid off because it meant they could buy some brilliant supplies, including snorkels and flippers. This gear enabled them to explore the wonders of the beautiful and unreal Indian Ocean, spotting all sorts of amazing underwater creatures like blue star-fish and even an octopus!
The group also stayed in a cultural centre in Mangapwani, a kind of small community set up by an American lady called Aida. The acres and acres of land have been hers for about 15 years and she mostly uses the space to teach young kids and people within the community. The site is dotted with sculptures she and her students have made out of recycled bottles. Many of these bottles, rubbish is from high-end hotels most tourists visit on their holidays. Even the buildings there had mortar and bottles instead of bricks!
Glass cutting with Aida
Aida funds it all by selling her bottle art and hosting other expedition groups. But, by observing Aida’s experience there, Aquinas students learnt that things we take for granted like internet and power aren’t readily available to paying customers due to government inefficiencies and exploitation.
Zanzibar will have a special place in all the hearts of those who visited. A trip enriched with possibility and discovery and recommended to all students aspiring adventure.
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