THIRD-WORLD living conditions, happy children and chocolate cake for breakfast were some of the experiences shared by Orange students during a recent trip to the Solomon Islands.
Orange Anglican Grammar School year 10 students Joshua Dunnett, Georgia Balcomb and Bethany Mitchell and year 11 student Will Christie spent 16 days visiting schools and communities at Ysabel, one of the Islands in the Solomon Islands and returned last Wednesday.
The visit was about uniting Orange’s Holy Trinity Anglican Church with the church in the town of Buala and, as part of the good-will visit, the 11-member group took school, sewing and sporting supplies to donate to the people there.
Reverend Mal Dunnett organised the trip and had taken his son Joshua there six times before, when they were at their previous church in Wagga Wagga.
However, it was the first time the other three students had gone and they said it was such an enjoyable and worthwhile experience they would go again.
“Just seeing how other people do things and other cultures, and seeing how different it is. It was really nice seeing the other communities and how they live together,” Bethany said.
As well as enjoying being around the happy children, the students were surprised how religious the communities were, with people attending prayer services in the morning and evening each day.
They said drums and bells woke people to attend a 5.30am prayer service each morning and most people in the village attended.
Schooling was also different, with most high schools being boarding schools in areas that were difficult to access, with inadequate amenities.
To get to one of those schools they went on a one-and-a-half hour boat ride followed by a half-hour ride in the back of a truck, which got bogged several times on their return journey.
“Half the time the showers didn’t work and when they did work it was just a trickle,” Georgia said.
For the boys, conditions were worse, and they had to walk across a log over a river to get to the toilet, which was a hole in the ground.
However, the biggest thing they took away from the trip was that the people were happy with what they had, rather than what they wanted.