On 2 October we left Auckland early in the morning for Christchurch. Shortly after arriving we met up with Richard Washington and the boys from St Peters and St Thomas.
The first part of our trip was an eye opening visit to a youth prison where we toured the cells. We also played touch rugby and had a barbeque with the prisoners. We learnt about their stories and we learnt more about the perspective of life on the inside.
Later on we had to understand what it was like to feed a family without a lot of money. That night everyone helped the Salvation Army give out food to the homeless on the street in Christchurch. Our jobs were to talk to the homeless and give them company. Some of their stories were amazing to hear what they had been through.
The next day we went to the City Mission and learnt about what they have been doing to help the homeless. This was followed up by a trip to the local Marae and a talk about community justice, with Ashley taking part in an empathy exercise.
We then took a tour across the red zone. It was unbelievable to see the aftermath of the earthquake. It felt surreal.
That night we all slept outside on cardboard to gain a feeling and understanding for those who have no choice but to sleep outside every night. The next day we had a reflection on our experiences over what we had gained during this trip.
We would like to give a special thanks to Richard Washington and Marty Taylor for taking us on this amazing journey and allowing us to have this once in a lifetime experience.
Luke Devereaux, Ashley Puliyodil, John Laufiso, Kieran Horler