SALSA - Grade 9 and 10 Trip
Grade 9 and 10 trip down south
Grade 10 Trip
"This year the Grade 10 study trip was a tremendous victory. We had lots of fun while learning new things and everyday was filled with a different sense of excitement. Where the first two days were calm the remaining days were tiring. However, all of us successfully came back home without any injuries and everyone was contented with the trip. Whether it was kayaking or biking, laughing or singing, it was wonderful
We started our journey on 16 November 2009 thinking about what awaits us for the next few days. The trip began with visiting a religious temple that many students worshipped in and others respected. This was followed by lunch at Pakading where we enjoyed eating Lao food. After a long walk across the bridge and a few hours later we reached Riveria hotel. Everyone was shocked to see the hotel as it was so much better than what we expected. The evening ended with a stunning sunset at Sikothabong Stupa and an appetizing dinner in the hotel.
The next day began with a superb breakfast followed by a 16km cycle. It was sunny and windy and while some biked to the Buddha Cave others were not able to continue and played UNO in the tuk tuk. When we entered the Buddha Cave we were amazed to see how well it was kept in terms of just being discovered in the year 2004. Quickly after that we were ready to see the power plant and reservoir. Currently it is the largest one in Laos. It was very cold out there and most of the people were unprepared. We are thankful to one of the members of the project who explained to us the advantages and disadvantages of the developing hydro-electro power plant. The greatest part about this day was that we could have dinner wherever we wanted around town. As we woke the next day, we were ready to pack our bags and leave for the Sala Hinboun Resort. We all knew it was going to be a long ride of six hours. When we were in the middle of the mountains, it was unbelievable to see how chilling it was in Laos. After approaching the guesthouse we were ready to go to the Ban Nakan School to donate and plant trees. It was the first time in the history of the Ban Nakan School that an international school visited. We were very exultant during our community service and also when we played volleyball and soccer with the school. The bonfire was so soothing as it was very frosty at the resort. Around the bonfire we played some games, sang a few songs and ate barbeque. We had no idea how fun the next day was going to be. The entire Khonglor cave was completely dark without a torch. It was something never seen before by most of the people. It is the longest and largest cave in Laos and one has to pass the complete cave by boat for seven and a half kms. Later on everyone just jumped in the water to swim right after lunch. Kayaking was powerful as we kayaked across the blue lagoon. We all had fun as we were banging into each other. At the baci ceremony we prayed for our safety and wished good luck to each other for our future. We were very blissful the next day when we finally reached the school at 3 o’clock.
Overall we all enjoyed ourselves. Where we learned many new things on one hand, on the other we got to know each other more and enjoyed the company. We had fun even when we were in a religious temple and also when we were singing loudly in the bus. Every moment of the study trip was enjoyable and we thank our teachers, Mr. Hotrich, Mr. Dent, Mr. Jamie, Ms. Campbell, and the Green Discovery staff for the challenging activities and an excellent trip.
Grade 9 Trip
By Grade 9 Students
"Who would have thought that twelve hours later on the Grade 9 study trip and with very little sleep on the night bus we would tackle the trekking with gusto? Ms. Janet being a city girl slithered all the way down the slippery steep slope and huffed her way up the mountain side grabbing any tree she could find with various students acting as personal guides only to be dumped in the waterfall.
We saw Pakse, a land full of life. We would wake up in the morning with snippets of clouds drifting along far apart from each other with a perfect backdrop of deep blue skies above it. On our arrival in the forest, the mountains awoke with the flowers and trees blooming while the black brown walls of rock and moss grow from the ground beneath our shoes. Vast numbers of insects were surrounding us while we were jungle trekking. The birds were mixing, harmony and melody, singing the sounds of nature. Further into the forest, we would finally meet the exquisite crystal waterfall. Cool spray of water splashed against our faces, with each icy droplet saying hello.
Run up the many, steep and rickety stairs in Champasak. You will be amazed at the ancient civilization wonder of Wat Phou. As students, we were given a privileged opportunity to see this world heritage site in a different perspective, walking around the sacred temples instead of looking at it on a computer. This allowed us to experience using the IB Learner Profile in real life. Spending time in a classroom may sometimes make it difficult to relate to outside the classroom. This study trip allowed us to create those special links.
Take the opportunity to ride the elephants to an old fort. Anne Mai sat on the old rickety saddle as behind her, moans and groans of disgust as the elephant let out noises of an unsociable kind. We shouldn’t scream because the elephants will get mad. Riding an elephant was pretty exhilarating.
Conservation must not be taken lightly. Studying in places like this make you realize how precious these resources are. It creates a consciousness in your mind of the amount of water or electricity you use. Staying here made us want to take short showers and turn off the lights to conserve energy. Ecotourism is the way forward.
Did you know that there a lot of Irrawaddy dolphins swimming and frolicking in the waters of the Mekong near the Cambodian border? Sadly, there are only twenty four (some say 40) of these beautiful creatures left. We pushed our endurance level to the limit, learning the new skill of kayaking. It was indeed challenging but it was done in a safe manner as we wore helmets and life jackets and were given assistance from friendly, experienced guides. Even being stranded on the Mekong in a kayak with no paddles while going down rapids like Jasmine and Toni experienced was great fun. Ask Mr. Campbell about his drifting episode after being abandoned by his partner.
Not only did the trip familiarize us with the IB Learner Profiles, it also helped us to become more independent. During the four days, we were without parents, were challenged to look after ourselves and to make our own right choices. This trip has allowed us to build many bridges - endurance, participation, communication, tolerance, respect and teamwork. A bridge that is essential for connectivity between teachers, classmates and understanding of the Lao culture. We are better people for having made this trip."