A germ of an idea became reality recently when a party of nine students and two teachers arrived at Manchester Airport for two weeks of outdoor activities at Petty Pool Outdoor Centre, Sandiway, near Northwich. The trip was organised by District Governor-elect, Eric Cowcill, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Sandbach, after talks with the Rotary Club of Macau and the Principal of St Pauls School, Macau.
Eric explains that Macau, which is a Special Administrative Region of China, has a population of 600,000 living in an area about the size of Sandbach, and is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It receives 25 million visitors annually, attracted by the many casinos, making the country more lucrative than Las Vegas.
Whilst based at Petty Pool, the students were home-hosted over the middle weekend by members of the Rotary Club of Sandbach. The hosts provided differing programmes with activities ranging from trips to the North Wales Coast and Snowdonia; Jodrell Bank and Wheelock Hall Farm to shopping and cake baking. Watching cows grazing in the fields was a new and fascinating experience for them. The weekend ended with a barbecue.
None of the students had been to England previously and so these were all new experiences. They all live in high-rise apartment blocks and expected their hosts to be living in castles and stately homes.
The comments of Mandy, one of the students, are typical. I am happy to be given this wonderful opportunity to stay with my host family. They are very kind and friendly. In these three days they took good care of me. We chatted all the time. Which made my English improve a lot. I treasure this wonderful experience and I will never forget it.
Other interesting places were visited including the Albert Dock and the Beatles Museum at Liverpool; the Sandstone Trail (walking in Macau is not a normal pastime and they were worn out after two hours) and the Manchester United ground and shop.
A day in Sandbach started with crown green bowling at The Limes, prior to lunch with members of the Rotary Club of Sandbach, after which they were given a guided historical tour of the town.
At the farewell party the students put on a short programme of music and singing before they bid a tearful goodbye to the host families.
The party took the train to London, accompanied by members of Sandbach Interact Club for two days of sight-seeing before returning to Macau.
The teachers accompanying the students said how much had been learned and enjoyed during the short stay and hoped that students from the school would be able to visit in the future.
© Rotary News