When Uplands College White River teachers and learners took a 13 day hiking trip into the deep woods of Mpumalanga, one enthusiastic student that formed part of that expedition was Transnet’s young Ambassador, Andrea Nyambo. An ambitious 16 year old Uplands College pupil, Nyambo is one the students receiving academic sponsorship from the Transnet Foundation through the Orphaned Youth Education Programme.
The group covered a distance of 200 km on foot, with a few exceptions in areas where they had to make use of canoes in water-logged areas, where swimming to get across was impossible. The scholars were divided into 4 groups and Andrea was part of a 21 member team. Unfortunately on the 3rd day of the trip, one of the students from another group passed away. Sadly, Nyambo explains that some learners decided to discontinue the whole exercise on the following day following the memorial service, while he and the rest of the group decided to trudge on.
The excited Nyambo shared his experience after the November 2013 escapade.
“We walked a lot of kilometers to different camp sites and our supper was mainly spaghetti and Vienna which we cooked ourselves. When we just set out my shoulders ached due to the strain caused by my camping bag and other items that I was carrying but eventually I got used to the load. Eating sugar biscuits and taking energy drinks revved up and maintained my energy levels especially when we had long distances to cover.
“The highlights of the trip were the bike riding and sailing on Gama Dam. We also got to build our own little boats to get around the dam. It was hard for some but I found it fun.
I learnt a lot of life lessons on this trip: For example, never to leave a man behind. While trekking through nature and long roads the slowest or weakest were put in front so as to lead the pace for the group. That way everyone arrived at the various destinations at the same time. I also learned how to sustain my body during tough physical challenges and how to work best in a team. I thank everyone at Uplands College and the Transnet Foundation for this opportunity." Andrea said.