Spalding Grammar pupils take a once in a lifetime trip to Ecuador

Spalding Grammar students outside the house they built in Macas.
Spalding Grammar students outside the house they built in Macas.
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Spalding Grammar School student Willis Ingleby (16) and his classmates had the school trip of a lifetime this summer when they spent three weeks in Ecuador.

Willis previously held a Retro Disco as well as cake stalls and bag-packing events to raise the £3,500 needed to pay for his place on the trip and other students received help from their parents to pay for the expenses.

Students stop by a lake during a trek.

Students stop by a lake during a trek.

The 18 Grammar School students, aged 16-18, plus four staff members, had an action-packed schedule as they explored the South American country.

Willis said: “I was really excited to explore the country with my friends and it was a really good experience.”

The trip was co-ordinated by Outlook Expeditions, who also supplied Jake, their group leader. The members of staff who also helped organise it were Luke Hedges and Amber Oldersma.

Before the group left, geography teacher Stephen Lane, who led one of the teams during the expedition, said: “Having accompanied students on our 2014 expedition to Vietnam and Cambodia, I can appreciate what a fantastic opportunity this is for the students.”

The group arrived in the beginning of July at Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, where they planned for the week ahead whilst settling in.

They visited nearby city Otavalo and went on treks to see waterfalls, volcanoes and lakes, going back to Quito at the end of the day.

Their nine-day project required them to travel to Macas, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, to help the community who live in poverty by building a house for a family of seven.

Almost a quarter of Ecuador’s population live in poverty.

Willis said: “There was no electricity there as it was the middle of the jungle, so we built the house out of wood.

“It was very rewarding when we completed the building as the family was so happy.

“They couldn’t speak English but we could see the happiness in their eyes.”

He added: “I had the honour of presenting the house to the locals and the family wanted me to stay – they said they had a wife for me!”

Willis had to come home early from the school trip so he could attend his brother’s wedding, but the rest of the group stayed for another week, trekking 14km a day near Quilopoa.

They brought everything with them on their backs and camped out everyday where they could, to experience the wildlife and take in some of the country’s beautiful countryside.

Following his GCSE results, Willis plans to continue studying at the Grammar School when the school term begins in September.