The Calabash Expedition - upholding our values of responsibility and independence Posted - 06/09/2018


The Calabash Trust is a charity that Reed’s Sixth Form students have supported for the last 12 years. Each year they spend months raising funds for their projects, then become teachers, coaches, builders, gardeners, labourers, designers, artists and painters to support Primary Schools in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa for two weeks.

This year was no exception and, having had my first Calabash experience in 2016, it was an honour to be asked to run the 2018 expedition, and what an expedition it was! Along with myself, 26 pupils and three other members of staff (all first timers on Calabash) we hoped to better the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves and, of course, open the students’ eyes to how our society fits into the global picture.

After the warmest of welcomes - treated to singing, dancing and chanting from the school children and the staff - our students set to work on a number of projects. One key aspect to all they undertook was that everyone had some input into every job – this really was a team effort. The students should be incredibly proud of what they achieved in such a short space of time, and always remember what a difference some willing and determination can make.

We stayed in the townships in a hostel run, as ever, by local “Mamas” who shared their heart-wrenching stories with us, joined in with our evening games and made us feel like part of the family. The food they made was amazing, and their desire to wash our clothes every day really did emphasise how caring these women are. They added immensely to the experience of the trip.

All too soon it was time to leave, but we hoped that in our own way, we have made a difference to a small section of their community. It was the trip of a lifetime, and a huge congratulations and thanks must be given to each student on this trip, who made it both effortless and a huge privilege to run. The pupils were incredible ambassadors for the School and should take pride in everything they learnt on this experience.

Terry Ha, i/c Calabash Expedition

Please also read about the experience from a student’s point of view – you can download Oscar Ress’ account of the expedition below.


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