Four Stonar sixth formers experienced a completely different education on a trip to Zimbabwe recently.

The quartet visited Peterhouse School in Marondera, Zimbabwe. Like Stonar, it has its own equestrian centre.

“Although there was initially a huge culture shock, everyone was so friendly that we were made to feel very welcome,” said Jess Elsbury. They attended lessons at the school, staying in the boarding house.

Peterhouse has a game reserve on its doorstep and pupils were able to ride into it and get close to herds of zebras. A trip to the Imire Game Park involved a nine-hour ride leaving at 4am in the morning. Here they hand-fed black rhinos, rode on elephants and camped under the stars.

They also visited the Foundation Project which aims to educate children who could otherwise not afford school.

After staying with the privileged children of Peterhouse School, they saw a very different way of life here, with no electricity and cooking over fires. “The children were quite shy at first and then we showed them our phones which broke the ice and got them all taking pictures of each other,” the girls said.

The girls were shocked by the exposure to endemic corruption, learning from the Zimbabwe pupils about the reality of daily bribes to officials and also hearing about first-hand experiences of the seizure of white-owned farms. “It really made us realise the importance of a stable government and appreciate what we have in this country,” commented Florence Deasy.