Two Cranbrook high school students are headed to Africa on the trip of a lifetime.
Sydney Hug and Vicky Deraspe—two Grade 11 students currently attending Mount Baker Secondary School—will be off to Zimbabwe in a few months to volunteer at an orphanage for three weeks.
Hug was the initiator of the plan to go overseas and volunteer after a friend of hers, who is a humanitarian worker, suggested a couple programs.
From there, she roped in Deraspe to share in the adventure.
“It was a program that was recommended to Sydney by a really good friend from a camp she goes to in the summer,” Deraspe said. “We did some research on it and and she said, ‘Hey, you want to go to Africa with me?'”
They are heading to Victoria Falls in June and will volunteer at a primary school where they will be helping students in classrooms from kindergarten to Grade 6.
“I think just seeing the culture and being able to understand people who are in such a different culture than us will be really good for me,” added Hug.
They were able to set up travel to Africa through a program called GoEco and found their volunteer opportunity through African Impact.
“I’m really excited to meet all the kids because we’ve watched a bunch of videos about African Impact and 95 per cent of the people say what they enjoyed most was the people they met,” said Deraspe.
The two will be spending six days a week volunteering in the classroom helping out with schoolwork and will have one day to go out and explore Victoria Falls and the surrounding area.
Africa is a big place with plenty of opportunities to volunteer, but Zimbabwe seemed like the obvious choice after doing some research.
“For my family, for sure, it was one of the safer projects,” said Hug.
“…It’s got a really good reputation, especially that specific program for volunteer safety and things like that. That was a big factor for my mom.”
Added Deraspe: “For our original program, we originally going to South Africa to a little town called St. Lucia. But then after we did a little research, we figured Zimbabwe would be the better choice.”
The two girls will be paying for an extra bag each to take on the airliner that will be packed with all kinds of school and medical supplies that they intend to leave in the community.
If anyone is interested in donating money or school supplies, medical supplies, clothing, books or anything at all, contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sydney at email@example.com.