As we go into a new year, perhaps it’s time to reflect on the achievements of the past year.
And one group of girls from Carrick Academy certainly achieved a lot.
Last summer a small group of girls from Carrick Academy travelled to Peru for three weeks to take part in charity work with The Vine Trust.
The Vine Trust sets up centres around the country which provide the street boys of Peru with a home and an education.
The trip was made possible by a year of fundraising events including quiz nights and a sponsored Christmas dip in the sea alongside help from the local community.
After flying to the capital, Lima, the girls travelled over the Andes Mountains to a site set up by The Vine Trust at Kimo.
They stayed here for a week completing some light DIY work making improvements to the visitor accommodation.
The work there involved sanding and varnishing wood, digging holes for rubbish and laying an electricity cable.
The work was completed during the day and the evenings were spent eating and playing with the young boys to learn about their incredible and upsetting life stories.
After their time in Kimo the group travelled to the historic city of Cusco where they took a trip to the famous mountain top ruined city of Machu Picchu.
Whilst in Cusco, the group visited another of the Vine Trust centres to meet some more young boys who were put onto the streets by their families. For the last days of the trip, the group travelled to the Amazon Basin to a site near the town of Iquitos to stay with more young street boys.
Whilst they were there they travelled up the Amazon River to visit the Amazon Hope. This is a medical ship owned by the Vine Trust which provides medical and dental care for those who live in the more remote areas of the Amazon jungle.
The group also had the opportunity to visit one of the country’s shanty towns where they could see for themselves the extreme poverty which exists in Peru.
One of the more unusual experiences was the opportunity to taste roast Guinea Pig, a Peruvian delicacy.
All in all this was a life changing opportunity for the girls who will never forget the people they met and places they visited.