Pupils trek through Amazon basin bringing water to a remote village

Lewes Old Grammar School students trek through the Amazon Jungle to install a water tank
Lewes Old Grammar School students trek through the Amazon Jungle to install a water tank

Fresh drinking water has been brought to a remote Peruvian village thanks to the efforts of students from Lewes.

Nine pupils from Lewes Old Grammar School spent their summer holidays trekking to Iquitos, a jungle in the northern Amazon basin, which can only be reached by air or sea.

They then travelled by boat to a remote island which is home to 100 people.

The pupils raised £10,000 to pay for the materials and a water tank and installed it with the help of the school’s bursar and former engineer, Tim Laker.

Mr Laker said: “The goal was to bring something to the people here that they had never had: clean water.

“There was no rule book, no blueprints. We had to engineer the entire making of this from scratch. The village representative consulted with us and decided that they wanted a single water tower for 5,000 litres of water.

“After unloading a boat of 2,100 clay brinks that we had sent down from Iquitos and carting them 1.7km through the jungle – plus over 1.2 tons of dry cement – we were totally exhausted and ready to begin!”

Mr Laker emphasised the challenging nature of the build which involved hauling sand through jungle terrain and back to the village. He said that the pupils did so with ‘strength and determination’ and that he is ‘really proud of them’.

“Straight after that, they spent two days mixing 5.5 cubic metres of cement with shovels and spades to build a platform strong enough to hold five tons of water.

“By the end of the task, two groups of entirely different people from the furthest parts of the globe had come together wonderfully to work on a project.

“And for the first time in the village’s history, there was clean water.

“The students were determined to make the project a success and they did. They learned so much and all said what an incredible experience it was.”

Student Ella Prior said: “It was a huge privilege to be able to get involved in a project like this and feel like you have made a tangible difference to a group of people whom I would never have come into contact with normally.

“We were honoured to be welcomed into their village and it felt great to work all together as a team.”