Looking Back on Phase 1 – Leadership Trek in the Usambara Mountains

19th July 2015

  19 days ago, when we began the Leadership Development phase of our Raleigh Expedition, we were all different people, with 11 perspectives on life, 11 different ideas of how the next three weeks would go and 11 varying conceptions of what we would achieve, both personally and as a group. One member of the group said “I knew it would be physically challenging, but I wasn’t expecting to discover how strong I could be mentally.”     Reflecting back now, it is incredible how far we’ve all come and how we’ve all developed. Over the course of the 19 days, we trekked 160km, carrying all of our group equipment and personal belongings with us, setting up camp every night and resourcing our own food and water. Though there were obstacles in our way, we always found a positive solution as a group, and the tough days were more than outnumbered by the days when we got to explore the surrounding local environment and spent time bonding as a team. We came to see how the beauty of the Usambara Mountains is so strongly reflected in the communities that live there. A2 Trekking 600 Trekking takes you to some stunning locations Another one of commented that “after throwing myself into the trek and working hard to enhance myself as an individual and a team player, not only have I learned to be more patient, but I’ve grown confident in my ability to make decisions.” Our trek ended at Mambo Point, which felt like the culmination of all of our efforts up until that point.  High up in the Usambaras, the view spreads out in front of you as far as the eye can see. The mist and cloud rolling slowly in and out cloak the valley floor in a soft white layer before clearing to reveal the land beneath. We emerged from our tents in the morning to look down on to the valley floor and, as we did so, it was as if we were looking down on all of the physical and metaphorical mountains that we had conquered during our 19 days. Raleigh values teach us the importance of friendship and partnership, and as a group those qualities go without saying. Yet throughout Phase 1, we have picked up a variety of other skills, not only bush craft, but teamwork, cooperation and time management, all essential skills for leadership development and generally later in life. A2 Group 600 The Alpha 2 trekking team We will all go our separate ways after our Raleigh experience, yet everything we learned on trek and everything we achieved will stay with us for the rest of our lives.