Environmental Project Trip by Owen Thomas, Yr 13
I took part in an environmental project, in the same area in Sri Lanka, as a big build project attended by fellow Felsted pupil Marit. The environmental project was part of Project Orange and consisted of working with various local farmers to plant orange trees around their houses to protect them from elephants trying to get the rice stored within the houses.
The orange trees are used to deter elephants as Asian elephants have a natural dislike of citrus trees and fruits and therefore do not go onto the farmers land.
We worked with the local farmers to clear their land, dig holes and then plant the trees. With 14 of us on the environmental project we gave each farmer 2 days of labour working from 8 till 12:30 and then from 3 till 5 in the afternoon. By the end of the trip we had planted 250 trees, had worked with 6 local farmers and had also planted trees around the school which the big build team had built!
Every evening we had some form of lecture, movie and free time. Our lectures were from Chandi who ran the project and from Brad who organised the trip. We saw a documentary which showed the real facts about the amount of plastics in the oceans and gave us all a new perspective to the damage that has already been caused.
This trip was the first environmental project that Round Square had organised, in association with a company called Flooglebinder, a conservation based travel company that brings volunteers to local communities to aid in conservation projects around the world. They work on the principle of education, connection and change to try and make a real difference to specific areas. Alot of conservation work goes on already and people have been educated about the effects of plastics and other harmful gases but there is still so much unseen damage being caused by us. This was the focus of our time out in Sri Lanka. We got told how to make small frequent changes which would, in time, make a greater combined difference.
Round Square Big Build Trip by Marit Frieg, Yr 13
The difference we were able to make on this trip was heartwarming and very enjoyable. On this Round Square Big Build trip all students worked together as a team to build a classroom at a school in a community near the centre of Sri Lanka. We did everything from carrying and laying bricks to shovelling dirt and mixing concrete and cement.
Another part of the project was to clear out a field next to the school for the children to be able to play cricket and volleyball. At the beginning, it was hard to tell if we would be able to complete the work we wanted to achieve but we completed everything at the end. We ended our time in the community with cricket and volleyball matches after inaugurating the classroom for the children.
I made friends from all over the world and think that some of these friendships will stay for a lifetime. The work we all accomplished together brought us very close and helped us to bond even better. Especially, being able to see how all of the people in the community enjoyed us being around them and helping where we could was lovely to feel. The work that we have done was a lot of fun for me and I would do it all over again. Being around each other for 24 hours a day without phones was very beneficial to able to get to know most of the students on the trip. In general this trip changed my way of thinking in specific situations as well as my personality.
At the final dinner all the delegates formed a circle along with the project leaders. Holding hands and trying their best not to let that tear escape. One of the leaders said, “The work, the heat, the injuries, those aren’t the hardest parts, this is: saying goodbye.”
Throughout this trip we had got so used to eating, sleeping and spending all of our time together that the idea of not seeing each other for a long time really took us all by surprise. After 14 days, I was able to feel this connection to these people and I had no idea they even existed 14 days before. Looking back to this trip still brings a tear to my eye and a smile on my face as it reminds me of the most heartwarming time I have ever had.