What an unforgettable trip! How confident would you feel flying 17 hours to an unknown destination to volunteer in a local community? Well, as it turns out I am delighted to report if you were as lucky as St Catherine’s Team 1 with Outlook’s Lucy and Mrs Parfitt and Mrs Gava as leaders, you would feel very confident and extremely lucky!

We finally gathered after two years of fundraising at Terminal 3 Heathrow on July 7 2018. We had a short stop at Singapore Airport, and then arrived in exotic Hanoi, to an avalanche of information and an overload of all our senses. Partially acclimatised we headed overnight via train to Sapa Valley. The incessant humid heat of our expedition phase will remain with us all FOREVER! Next it was back on the overnight train to Hanoi, before taking a coach to Thai Hai Village. We had some wonderful volunteering experiences with the village children. We taught English and we all made many more discoveries about ourselves too! Memories too many to report include the gasping relief of a river dip during the hiking phase, the hard work of our volunteer gardening, and then the total relaxation of Halong Bay.

It was a trip so rich in many things, from friendships formed, through to vivid sights, smells and tastes. If you ever have a chance to go on expedition – grab it with both fundraising arms!

A few statistics to sum up our experiences ,…without spilling the tour’s beans, of course!…..1,092 hand sanitizer used, 210 journeys, 494 pairs of chopsticks used and over 3 million dong spent!

Amy Kenningham