For those who may have missed the posts about this mission, I am currently in Guangzhou, China on route to Tanzania to guide a group of seven adventurers up Mt Kilimanjaro on New Years morning. Adventure travel company World Expeditions and Sea2summit7 have joined together to organise this charity expedition supporting the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.
As you may know I am a secondary school teacher at Botany Downs Secondary College and part of my role as the Head of Outdoor Education is to give our international students life changing outdoor experiences in NZ. I am lucky enough to have developed relationships with students from all over the world and every so often i get to visit them in their environment where our roles are reversed. Lynn and I decided to have a three night stopover in Guangzhou to experience a culture completely different to ours and one of my Students Pan kindly offered to be our personal tour guide. Two of my other students Tim and Terry caught wind of this trip and got fomo so have flown from their hometown to also hang out for a few days.
We walked through the arrival gate to see three excited students waving furiously at us almost as if I had forgotten what they looked like or so they would stand out amoungst the crowd. Within five minutes Pan had stored our luggage and explained a detailed itinerary for the next three days. We then checked into our hotel and were straight off to sample the local cuisine. It was a very special moment to experience my students proudly showing off their culture and realising that teachers are actually people with real life partners and lives outside of school. As teachers we often feel so restricted by the politically correct boundaries which are imposed to ensure both student and teacher safety, but in doing so you prevent building a depth of relationship that would actually foster the most growth.
We were sent to bed as we needed to be up nice and early to fit all of our group tourist goals in for the day. Here are a few highlights of what we achieved: crowded as trains, climbing highest mountain in Guangzhou, local eats, monuments, night life, peace signs, Yum Cha dim sum for breakfast, trying to run over Koi Carp in a paddle boat and cheap dental work 😉
This evening we say goodbye to Guangzhou and our hosts and fly to Tanzania where we will be picked up from the airport and head straight off on the three day Safari. I doubt I will be able to check in whilst on Safari but will be back on Christmas Eve to get ready for a Christmas lunch with the climbing party. I always knew I would return to Tanzania but never imagined it would be so soon. It holds a very special place in my heart as the four months I spent there three years ago, changed my life and priorities forever.
Action expresses priorities- Ghandi